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EUROPE SIGNS ON 10M PREPAID USERS

CHICAGO-Prepaid cellular subscribers in Western Europe exceeded the 10 million mark during the first quarter of 1998, while the United States isn’t expected to reach that milestone until late 2000, according to a recent report from Globalnet Communications.

The U.S. introduction of the “1998 Global Prepaid Cellular Market Review” at the Telecommunications Resellers Association’s 1998 Summer Carrier Forum followed its European debut earlier this month at the Prepaid Mobile Services Global Summit in London. The study derogated the U.S. wireless industry for discounting prepaid cellular in the past and lagging behind in the market.

More than 250 cellular providers in 75 countries now offer prepaid cellular, says the report, and the United States has more than 100. Even though that’s more than twice the number of operators offering prepaid in Western Europe, efforts there are far more focused and aggressive, show greater product differentiation and a higher degree of market segmentation, said Globalnet.

The report covers more than 160 countries and 380 carriers worldwide.

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