Data Shows That 3G Still Has Room to Grow

We’re pretty darn future-focused on 4G technologies over here, with LTE and WiMax dominating a lot of our coverage. But sometimes it’s good to check in with what we’ve already got, so we pulled some numbers on wireless broadband in the U.S. and the world. The data shows that the early deployments of EV-DO (CDMA variant of 3G) networks by Verizon Wireless and Sprint back in the early 2000s kept it ahead of rival GSM standards in the U.S., but shows that all variants of 3G have room to grow on a worldwide basis.

Data released by the GSM Association counted 50 million HSPA 3G subscribers in the world at the end of June, up from 11 million at the same time last year. As T-Mobile rolls out its HSPA network in the coming months and more folks buy iPhones, those numbers will continue to grow.

On the CDMA side, Chetan Sharma Consulting tracked 115 million CDMA 3G subscribers worldwide and 65 million in the U.S., current as of July 2008. HSPA networks have a theoretical download speeds of up to 7.2 Mbps vs 3.1 Mbps on the latest CDMA technology. Ironically, as AT&T and T-Mobile ramp up their 3G deployments, Verizon and Sprint are working on their 4G plans. Verizon is going down the LTE route, while Sprint is moving down the WiMAX path.

chart compiled by GigaOM with data from GSMA and Chetan Sharma Consulting