GSM/EDGE-only subscriptions represent the largest share of mobile subscriptions today (over 85% of the world’s population). In developed markets there has been rapid migration to more advanced technologies, resulting in a decline in GSM/EDGE-only subscriptions. Despite this, GSM/EDGE will continue to represent a large share of total mobile subscriptions. This is because new, less affluent users in developing markets will likely choose a low-cost mobile phone and subscription. In addition, it takes time for the installed base of phones to be upgraded. GSM/EDGE networks will also continue to be important in complementing WCDMA/HSPA and LTE coverage in all markets.
I live in one of the richest countries on earth, and supposedly we have 100% coverage for 3G from all three major carriers. The truth is, however, more muddied. The town where I live technically has T-Mobile 3G, but only the very lowest quality, resulting in T-Mobile customers (like me) effectively never having a 3G connection in town. Interestingly enough, the moment I leave town – literally the moment I cross the road that marks the end of town – I magically have a perfectly stable 3G connection all the way to the coast (about 4km away).
Those 4km consists almost exclusively of cow pastures and uninhabited coastal sand dunes.
So please, developers, take 2G into account. Even in developed nations, there are many people who ain’t getting more.