The number of GSM connected devices is due to hit four billion this year, according to wireless industry trade association 3G Americas.
Analyst firm Informa estimates that there are currently 3.9 billion GSM connections, and 3G Americas believes that that the four billion milestone will be reached by September. Connections for rival technology CDMA are barely a tenth of that figure.
"Automobiles and telephones, followed by televisions and personal computers, have undeniably changed the world and have greatly shaped the way in which we live our lives," said Chris Pearson, president of 3G Americas.
"Wireless mobile telephony substantially exceeds the impact of any one of these major innovations. In some countries, wireless penetration levels are exceeding 100 per cent, as now, not only people, but machines, are connected through GSM technology, available today on nearly 800 networks in 219 countries. "
One of the fastest growing regions has been Latin America, where GSM subscriptions rose by 22 per cent over the past year, while CDMA subscriptions fell to around 10 per cent of the total market.
"Mobile broadband growth is most notable in Latin America where fixed broadband access remains limited," said Eva Benguigui, senior research analyst for Informa Telecoms and Media.
"Mobile operators are seeing the opportunity to use recently deployed third-generation networks as a way of diversifying their revenue streams and connecting millions for whom an internet connection has until recently been out of reach."
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