New figures from ABI Research suggest that more than two billion people around the world are now covered by 3G, WiMAX and LTE mobile data networks.
Nearly 82% of the population in Western Europe is currently covered by 3G networks, although only about 12% of the Asia-Pacific region has access to 3G.
The company notes that network sharing has became more common in some mature markets, citing the UK example of Everything Everywhere and French mobile operator SFR sharing the roll-out of its UMTS network with domestic rivals Orange France and Bouygues Telecom.
Neil Strother, mobile services research practice director at ABI Research, said “While many networks in US and Europe are working towards complete coverage for 3G services, some mobile operators in other regions find themselves tangled up with government bureaucracy, which impedes progress in upgrading the network technology. India has at last concluded its 3G spectrum auction after repeated delays; Thailand’s attempt to catch up with 3G licensing has once again stalled due to reorganization of the telecoms regulator.”