HSPA, or High-Speed Packet Access, is a line of high-speed 3G digital data services provided by GSM carriers with downlink speeds as fast as 14.4 Mbps. The trade association said users have passed the 50 million mark globally from 11 million a year ago.
In the U.S., HSPA deployment has been paced by AT&T, which recently moved to deploy HSPA across the U.S. in preparation for the recent rollout of Apple's iPhone and for advanced features like video.
"Our network's ability to provide simultaneous voice and data over HSPA allows for services like AT&T's groundbreaking Video Share calling across our more than 305 major metropolitan areas where we have deployed 3G," said Kris Rinne, AT&T's senior VP of architecture and planning, in a statement.
More than 80% of the world's cell phone subscribers use GSM (Groupe Special Mobile), although the European-developed standard has been challenged in the U.S. by Qualcomm's CDMA, which is used by Verizon Wireless, Sprint, and Alltel.
The GSM Association cited market research figures from the Wireless Intelligence database showing that there are more than 740-HSPA-enabled devices available from 116 manufacturers. A total of 191 operators have commercially deployed HSPA in 89 countries.
Handsets numbering 281 have been configured for HSPA use as well as 120 notebooks, 72 USB modems, 68 data cards, 40 wireless routers, and 39 embedded modules.
"These figures highlight the global success of Mobile Broadband and the fact that we are continuing to see greater and greater economies of scale," said Rob Conway, CEO and board member of GSM Association, in a statement. "This is driving down the cost of devices and equipment and enabling more and more users across the world to enjoy easy access to media-rich services."
The largest cell phone service provider -- Vodafone, which operates in several worldwide regions -- is upgrading its 3G/HSPA networks. The company, which also partners with Verizon in the U.S., plans to eventually move its infrastructure networks to LTE along with many other service providers.