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UMTS, after several years of relative stagnation, is now surging ahead strongly, according to ABI Research’s latest “Wireless Infrastructure Quarterly Service.” Evidence suggests that this year the UMTS market growth rate should approximately double its 2003 performance. While conventional wisdom points to UMTS’ higher level data and video services as the main inducements for adoption of the technology, ABI Research believes increased voice capacity, at a lower cost per subscriber than GSM, is at least as important. Legislation – national and international – will also play a role in its longer-term prospects. However, UMTS is not yet anything like the “Universal” in its name, and GSM, together with its EDGE upgrade, is also enjoying a growth in worldwide acceptance. This is driven in part by new subscribers in the emerging Chinese and Latin American markets, and in part by pent-up demand as the rest of the developed world begins to emerge from its telecommunications slump.
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