Summary:

In Western Europe, the number of subscribers using 3G have surpassed the 100 million mark, but what’s surprising is that this translates to…

In Western Europe, the number of subscribers using 3G have surpassed the 100 million mark, but what’s surprising is that this translates to a low penetration rate of 11.1 percent, reports Reuters, quoting figures from Informa Telecoms and Media. Specifically, at the end of May, Europe had 101.5 million 3G subscriptions, counting both phones and modems, out of a total subscription base of 910.8 million. Of course, 3G is important because it encourages people to consume more data and mobile operators are always on the look-out for a way to go beyond voice sales. The surprising part of this report is the low penetration rate in Europe. The report said some markets were significantly higher, like Sweden, Norway and Italy, which had rates at over 25 percent, but still that doesn’t seem as high as one might expect, and the penetration rates in the U.S. seem to be higher. This isn’t a fair comparison because I’m getting data from another provider, and I don’t think M:Metrics includes data cards in their stats, but nonetheless, it’s interesting to get an idea of the differences. M:Metrics said that as of the end of 2007, there were 52.2 million handsets with 3G capability in the U.S. for a penetration rate of 23.8 percent. They also have data on some European countries. For instance, the U.K. has a total of 10.9 million 3G-capable handsets, for a penetration rate of 23.6 percent. If the U.S. hasn’t surpassed Europe on this, it looks like it is gaining fast.

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