Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/09/04/us_passes_europe_in_3g/

US noses past Western Europe in 3G stakes

No, really

By Cade Metz

Posted in Mobile, 4th September 2008 17:57 GMT

Though the US still trails in terms of freedom from mobile tyranny, it has surpassed Western Europe in the great race towards 3G.

Just.

Believe it or not, American wireless subscribers are now more likely to use high-speed 3G networks than subscribers in Western Europe. According to the people tracking mavens at comScore, 28.4 per cent of American cell phone owners use 3G, compared with, well, 28.3 per cent in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom (combined).

In the past twelve months, the number of American 3Gers grew a whopping 80 per cent to 64.2 million. "For years, the American mobile industry has aspired to the level of sophistication of the European market," reads a canned statement from comScore senior vice president Mark Donovan. "Today, Americans have finally caught up with Europeans in adoption of 3G." But they're still years behind on the sophistication front.

It's also worth noting that although US 3G penetration has edged ahead of those five European countries as a whole, it still trails Italy and Spain if you consider them separately. Italy boasts 38.3 per cent penetration, Spain 37.2 per cent. Meanwhile, the UK is at 27.6 per cent, Germany 23.9 per cent, and France 17.1 per cent.

All told, comScore says, Western Europe has 63.4 million 3G subscribers: 18 million in Italy, 13 million in the UK, 12 million in Spain, 11 million in Germany, and 8 million in France. ®