While 2003 was a transition year for cellular base stations, 2004 is the one where reality will catch up with the vision, according to In-Stat/MDR. The carriers worldwide have started to execute aggressively on plans that had been delayed for years, and customers have even started to show some sign of excitement. In 2004, In-Stat/MDR forecasts that worldwide cellular base station revenue will be down 14.4% from 2003 due partly to price pressures and an increase in spectrum efficiency. However, during this period, the actual number of base stations is forecasted to increase slightly, from 329,483 in 2003, to 333,876 in 2004.
Overall, the trend in new base station deployments from 2003 to 2008 is generally down, although In-Stat/MDR believes that there will be a small upswing in 2008, as more demand for data services starts to emerge. By 2008, W-CDMA will represent 23.1% of deployed base stations, worldwide. And while GSM will represent 61.5%, this is a very impressive showing for W-CDMA, which will have gained wide-scale acceptance in a relatively short period of time. While there are over 15 mln 3G subscribers worldwide, this still only represents 1 subscriber in 100. However this is a good start. In the US, Sprint, Verizon and AT&T Wireless have all started to deploy their 3G services, although, in somewhat limited locations, to start.