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3G technology is the result of ground-breaking research and development work carried out by the &International_Telecommunication_Union in the early 1980s.
The first European pre-commercial network was an UMTS network on the Isle of Man by Manx Telecom, the operator then owned by British Telecom, and the first commercial network in Europe was opened for business by Telenor in December 2001 with no commercial handsets and thus no paying customers.
This was a demonstration network for the 2002 IT World Congress
The first network to go commercially live was by SK Telecom in South Korea on the CDMA-based 1xEV-DO technology in January 2002
The first pre-commercial demonstration network in the southern hemisphere was built in Adelaide, South Australia by m.Net Corporation in February 2002 using UMTS on 2,100 MHz
By May 2002 the second South Korean 3G network was by KT on EV-DO and thus the South Koreans were the first to see competition among 3G operators
The second 3G network operator in the USA was Verizon Wireless in July 2002 on CDMA2000 1x EV-DO. AT&T Mobility is a true 3G UMTS network, having completed its upgrade of the 3G network to HSUPA
The first commercial 3G network was launched by Hutchison Telecommunications branded as "Three" or "3" in June 2003
By June 2007, the 200 millionth 3G subscriber had been connected
In December 2007, 190 3G networks were operating in 40 countries and 154 HSDPA networks were operating in 71 countries, according to the Global Mobile Suppliers Association
On 14 December 2009, Telia Sonera announced in an official press release that "We are very proud to be the first operator in the world to offer our customers 4G services
In China, there were 486,5 million 3G subscribers in June 2014, in a population of 1,385,566,537