Today I spent most of the day preparing an email about wireless data market trend for my management. I read several articles on WCDMA, HSDPA, EDGE, etc.. Here are part of the email content.
1. We found that there is a lot of confusion on the various terms like WCDMA, HSDPA, EDGE, etc.. So without careful research, end users seem like they are not clear about the difference. Simply put, WCDMA and HSDPA are based on UMTS. WCDMA is 3G, HSDPA is 3.5G, while EDGE is enhanced GPRS based on GSM network.
2. 4G (LTE and Wimax, and LTE will be dominant) is definitely the trend, but real 4G will not available until 2012.
3. Wireless data market trend. It said that both EDGE and UMTS/HSPA are dominant wireless technologies.
By June 2010, more than 4.4 billion subscribers were using GSM-HSPA—nearly two-thirds of the world’s total 6.8 billion population. By the end of 2014, the global 3G wireless market is expected to include more than 3.3 billion subscribers of whom 2.7 billion will use 3GPP technologies, representing 87% market share.8 Clearly, GSM-HSPA has established global dominance. Although voice still constitutes most cellular traffic, wireless data worldwide now comprises a significant percentage of average revenue per user (ARPU). In the United States, wireless data exceeds 30% of ARPU on average and is likely to reach 35% by the end of 2010.
Source is here.
From the chart, by the end of the decade, because of sheer market momentum, the majority of worldwide subscribers will still be using GSM/EDGE technologies. UMTS/HSPA will pick up, and LTE is the long term trend. Almost all HSPA-enabled terminals have EDGE capability, and the trend is that WCDMA/HSPA/EDGE handsets will dominate the market, as shown in below chart.