Some 443 EDGE networks have now been commercially launched in 181 countries worldwide, up from 313 in 147 countries last year, according to the Global Mobile Suppliers Association (GMSA).
Operators in all regions have made significant investments to enhance the capacity and coverage of existing networks, often extending EDGE capabilities to their full GSM coverage area.
The commercial availability of EDGE-enabled services was expanded to an additional 34 countries/territories in the past year, and to an additional 68 countries/territories in the past two years.
This latest GSA survey identified 478 EDGE network operator commitments in 189 countries (compared to 363 commitments in 165 countries a year ago).
The number of operators committing to EDGE network deployments has increased 66pc over two years.
GSM/EDGE, a software enhancement to GPRS networks, is a mature global technology, which is supported by a well developed ecosystem. There are many thousands of EDGE-capable user devices in the market today, extending to all but the lowest cost segments.
Mobile broadband WCDMA-HSPA user devices usually also combine with quad band GSM/EDGE (850/900/1800/1900) capabilities. Over 83pc of WCDMA-HSPA user devices, including USB modems, modules for PCs, mobile internet devices, PC card modems, phones, routers, etc. also support EDGE, with new products arriving every month.
The first commercial EDGE network was launched in June 2003.
The GMSA estimates that around 80pc of GPRS operators have since committed to the EDGE enhancement, delivering significant data traffic and revenue growth.
A major driver for EDGE deployments is the capability provided to network operators to offer high-speed internet access to their customers.
Around two-thirds of HSPA (High Speed Packet Access) network operators have also deployed EDGE for service continuity and the best user experience of mobile broadband services.
The GSA EDGE Fact Sheet includes a complete list of all EDGE network deployments and launches worldwide, and is available now to download at www.gsacom.com/gsm_3g/edge_databank.php4#EDGE_Fact_Sheet
By John Kennedy