Market Milestones


Agreement of France and Germany to introduce networks based on the standardised Pan-European digital system

1987 (7 September)

GSM Memorandum of Understanding, an agreement to support the development of GSM and to implement it in 1991, signed in Copenhagen by 14 operators from 13 European countries.

1988 Autumn

Ten GSM infrastructure contracts signed by ten network operators

1988 (October)

Public presentation of the first set of GSM specifications at a conference in Hagen (Germany): 600 participants from Europe, USA and Japan, copies of the specifications on sale

1990 (October)

Promotion seminar for Eastern European operators in Budapest


Search for a system name leads to "Global System for Mobile Communications"


First commercial GSM networks come into service. First hand-portable terminals become available. International roaming becomes available.


1 million GSM users reached


Australian operators are first non-European operators who decide to implement GSM

1993 (September)

The first DCS 1800 (now GSM 1800) personal communication network opened in the UK

1994 September

Promotion seminar for Indian authorities in New Delhi in August 94, for China in Beijing in September 94


Data capabilities launched in GSM networks.

1995 (Autumn)

10 million GSM users in 100 GSM networks on air in 60 countries world-wide

1995 (November)

The first North American PCS 1900 (now GSM 1900) network opened

1995 December

GSM promotion Seminar for South America in Buenos Aires


Fax, data and SMS services started, video over GSM demonstrated.

1996 (Spring)

Creation of the UMTS Forum as a world-wide body, dealing with market, regulation and spectrum aspects of UMTS.

1998 (Mid)

100 million GSM users world-wide


1 000 million GSM users world-wide

2009 October

4 000 million GSM/UMTS users worldwide (90 % of world market)

2009 end

409 million UMTS users (WCDMA and HSPA)


First LTE trials

Ramersdorfer Str. 13, 53229 Bonn, Germany     E-Mail:      Copyright: Hillebrand & Partners 2010