20050715

Humble pies and compulsive eaters

End of June, WCDMA and CDMA2000 1x claimed respectively 28,3 and 186M subs (still no split for 1x EV from the CDMA Development Group), which means since our last count, one semester ago the global 3G market* grew by one third and 3GSM's share didn't take off dramatically (from 10 to 13%).
CDMA is still leveraging on its key asset (compared to GSM-WCDMA, migration remains a piece of cake for operators), but the phenomenon is reaching its limits : "3G" now represents 3/4 of the global 256M CDMA subscriber base (only 2% for the 1,430M GSM family, not to mention the other technos joining WCDMA). Besides, WCDMA is just gaining momentum and will eventually make it in Korea with the help of HSDPA, for which KTF and SKT just agreed on a march 2006 launch**. Even in Japan, FOMA is catching up with 38,7% of the 3G market... less than 2G laggard KDDI but 12 times better than Vodafone KK...
Well. I'm getting nowhere. This WCDMA vs CDMA2000 thing is getting boring. What matters now is what's growing out of this pie.

You'd better focus on players used to claiming leadership beyond the mobile market. While maintaining a market share acceptable by the regulator, SK Telecom claims 10M subs for NateOn or 14M for Cyworld. Their S-DMB service has seduced 75,000 subs within 2 months and still expects 600,000 by the E.O.Y. If you remember, that's far ahead of MBCO's DMB service : MobaHO! reach only 10,000 after 3 months, a poor score for a consortium of 90 companies (including SKT). Beyond the glamorous "Take Out TV", TU Media basically remains a mobile phone and the usage of the service logically contributes to the operator's wireless data ARPU, but this shouldn't be always the case. Let's see how stats will be kept when other accesses appear, when actual new biz starts.


* Well that's the 3G market defined as the sum of the two most relevant IMT-2000 technologies implemented by cellular operators : TD-SCDMA's been delayed again, and neither EDGE nor DECT can be considered 3G. TDD has been implemented but not in the right spectrum yet.
** SKT's HSDPA rates are as follow : 16k wons per month (about $16) for the charge and 2 to 3 megs for the bits. Manufacturers will make sure handsets are on time for the World to see. For the moment, Koreans see WCDMA attracted 3,000 customers in 20 month including such "customers" as the operators' staff and partners...



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