If Western Europe replicates the Japanese adoption timeline, there will be more than 8 mln W-CDMA users in the region by mid-2005 (2.4% of 340 mln). There’s no doubt the two markets are very different; the main difference is the attitude of consumers toward mobile data. However, there are strong reasons to believe the pace of European 3G adoption will equal or exceed Japan’s.
First, most carriers are conducting pre-commercial trials and will launch commercial services in 2004. Carrier pressure on vendors and greater economies of scale will mean better and cheaper equipment, while the lessons of DoCoMo and 3 should help other providers avoid early technical problems.
In addition, there is the lack of competing technologies. Where CDMA and 1X upgrades will compete with W-CDMA in Japan, there is no comparable cellular broadband technology being deployed in Western Europe. Interim or parallel technologies such as EDGE and Wi-Fi have similar characteristics but cannot match the attributes and benefits of W-CDMA.