Monday, July 14, 2003

Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) to support GSM evolution to 3G/WCDMA in the Philippines

Makati, Philippines (10 July 2003) The Asia-Pacific Chapter of the Global mobile Suppliers Association, also known as GSA APAC, launched in the Philippines today with the mandate of supporting the growth of telecommunications towards third generation technology known as 3G/WCDMA.

“GSA is creating a presence in the Philippines to ensure full communication, information sharing and industry support for the growth path of GSM (Global System for Mobile communication),” said Marko Tiesmaki, GSA APAC Chairman. “We are fully supporting the evolution to EDGE (Enhanced Data rate for Global Evolution) and to WCDMA (Wideband Code-Division Multiple Access), both of which are third generation (3G) wireless telecommunications standards offering far higher data speeds to mobile and portable wireless devices than is now available in the market.“

“GSA has two objectives,” continues Tiesmaki. “The first is to promote GSM in new and existing markets, and second, to promote the evolution of GSM as the platform for delivery of third generation multimedia services.”

Fastest-growing standard

GSM is currently the fastest growing digital standard in the world. It already serves over 860 million customers in 95% of the world's countries and is the global mobile technology of choice.

In late June, EMC World Cellular Database, a global independent research agency, announced that the total number of new mobile subscribers in the first quarter 2003 approached 51 million, with GSM accounting for almost 42 million, or 82% of new additions for the period.

GSM operators are also the largest in the world with China Mobile at over 144 million, and China Unicom at almost 75 million subscribers with GSM accounting for 65 million, by the end of the first quarter 2003. Fifteen of the world’s 20 largest operators use GSM technology, clear evidence of GSM's broad market acceptance, and performance in the highly competitive mobile services market.

Asia Pacific leads the world for mobile non-voice services and was the first region to introduce 3G services using GSM/WCDMA. Operators in the area enjoy higher penetration and higher annual revenues per user than competing technologies. Non-voice services revenue generated per user exceeds the global GSM average of 15% for several GSM operators in the region. In the case of the Philippines’ GSM operators, they lead the world in generating the highest amount of data as a percentage of revenue.

Asia Pacific markets, including the Philippines, are key to the growth of GSM globally. Outside of AP, there has been excellent progress in markets like China and Latin America. In Asia Pacific including China, 81% of the region's growth was generated by GSM operators. In China alone, GSM growth in Q1 2003 was 14.1 million subscribers, or 87% of new additions.

GSA in Asia and the Philippines

"The response that we had from the creation of the GSA India Chapter at the end of last year was very positive, and its work is advancing well. We are extending this practical activity to the wider APAC market in order to assist the industry as the market quickly evolves to delivering 3G services," said Tiesmaki.

Aside from the Philippines, GSA APAC Chapter currently supports business development in Thailand and Indonesia, with Alcatel, Ericsson, Nokia and Siemens as the initial contributors.

Tiesmaki adds, "The GSA APAC initiative will further drive the success of GSM in the Philippines. Working together as an industry will be critical in advancing the mobile market through a network evolution path that makes the best business sense."

To formally introduce GSA to the industry, the mobile consortium will host the CEO Luncheon in the upcoming 24th National Telecommunications Commission Anniversary Celebration on July 23, 2003. The event, dubbed “Public and Private Partnership On the Road to Progress”, will be attended by the chief executives of the telecommunications industry players.