The UMTS900 Global Status Information Paper published by GSA, the Global Mobile Suppliers Association, confirms 67 UMTS900 devices have been launched in the market by 14 suppliers. This compares with nine UMTS900 devices identified in a similar survey by GSA in June 2008 and confirms an increase over seven-fold. The UMTS900 Global Status information paper details UMTS900 network deployments, launches, trials, regulatory developments worldwide, and devices availability.
UMTS900 devices support HSPA data speeds comparable with 2100 MHz devices. The research by GSA confirms that the 900/2100MHz combination for WCDMA-HSPA is becoming much more commonplace.
This research, together with related activities by GSA, confirms the strong momentum for deploying UMTS900, which helps operators to extend voice, data and mobile broadband services coverage by leveraging the advantages of lower frequencies. While the majority of today’s HSPA mobile broadband networks operate in the 2100 MHz band, the use of lower frequencies, such as 900 MHz, provides a much larger coverage area. This translates to a significant reduction in the number of cell sites needed to cover rural and suburban areas. Another benefit is improved voice quality.
GSA recently published an operator case study on Elisa, Finland, which concluded that 3G coverage with UMTS900 can save 50% to 70% of mobile network costs when compared to deployments in the 2100 MHz band, including both CAPEX and OPEX. Similar cost and coverage benefits also apply to UMTS system deployments in other lower frequency bands, such as 850 MHz.
GSA also confirms that 6 network operators have commercially launched mobile broadband services using UMTS900: Elisa (Finland), Elisa (Estonia), Optus (Australia), AIS (Thailand), Vodafone (New Zealand), and now DNA (Finland), with the majority being part of a dual-band HSPA (i.e. 900/2100 MHz) system. Several more trials and network deployments of UMTS900 systems are on-going worldwide.