Excitement builds easily for the technical elegance and performance capabilities of fourth-generation (4G) cellular networks such as Long-Term-Evolution (LTE) systems. Networks are being constructed and trials conducted to accommodate what is expected to be a global rush to embrace 4G LTE products and services. In the meantime, a new study from market research specialist IMS Research serves a reminder that 2G and 3G wireless systems are still very much alive and well, thank you.

The new study, "The World Market for Mobile Handsets 2010 Edition," notes that growth in sales is coming from existing customers. Although year-over-year shipments of new handsets in 2009 over 2008 slipped 6.5 percent, the installed base for 3G networks grew 32.9 percent year over year in 2009 compared to 2008, with the installed base for all cellular networks growing 14.1 percent year over year in 2009 compared to 2008. The report also adds that 2G networks and devices won't fade away, with 2G devices forecast to still make up 66.7 percent of the installed cellular base market in 2015.