As many in the U.S. rush to snap up the Palm Pre that runs on Sprint’s 3G network or the new iPhone 3G S coming on June 19, it may be hard to realize that we’re still living in a world where most people aren’t on third-generation wireless networks. A research report out yesterday from In-Stat shows that only 11 percent of mobile phone users subscriptions today are using for 3G networks, and by 2013 that number will rise to only 28 percent. And for people like me, who are keen to see what the Long Term Evolution fourth-generation standard has to offer, the numbers are even more disheartening.
First, Allen Nogee, the analyst who gathered the data, calls both LTE and WiMAX pre-4G because they haven’t been certified as true 4G standards yet by the ITU. Then, he says only 2 percent of the world’s subscribers subscriptions — about 110 million — will be on pre-4G networks by 2013. It’s just a reminder that despite large carriers such as Verizon and NTTDoCoMo pushing the LTE envelope, the world is still a big place with billions of cell phone subscribers on old networks.