Report: CDMA rules wireless world

A published report by the Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) Development Group (CDG) says that CDMA2000 has a 99 per cent market share in the global 3G market.

The firm’s findings were based on operators’ subscriber numbers for the second quarter from March 2002 to June ’02. Of the 127 million CDMA subscribers, the CDG listed 15 million 3G system users.

In North America, the CDMA2000 1XRTT is by far the wireless network of choice over its rival, the universal mobile telecommunications system (UMTS). The GSM – or GPRS – system is more commonly deployed in Europe. In Canada, both Telus Mobility and Bell Mobility have opted to build 1XRTT while Rogers AT&T went with GPRS.

But where some confusion lies is that in the U.S., UMTS is called 3G, while in Canada it is 2.5G. Both Telus and Bell would acknowledge that while hyped at 144Kbps, the realistic throughput offered for 2.5G is usually between 40 and 60Kbps. No carrier in Canada has successfully hit the magical 3G requirement of 2Mbps.

What the numbers do clearly indicate is that in both North America and Asia Pacific, 1XRTT clearly rules with 43.7 per cent using 1X in North America and 35.6 per cent in Asia. Yet, in Europe, the Middle East and Africa combined, only 1.7 per cent were on the 1X system, which can be directly attributed to the fact that GSM is dominant in Europe.

One analyst suggested that only 13 per cent of networks around the world use the CDMA system versus UTMS based networks, which account for 70 per cent.

“Their (CDG’s) claim of 99 per cent of the market is not meaningful at this point in time but it does suggest that they are very cognizant of the need to differentiate what CDMA offers (from) UTMS,” said Brownlee Thomas, research director at Giga Information Group in Montreal.

That need to contrast may come into play for both Latin America and Africa, as both countries both partially use a Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) network. According to the report, 19 per cent of Latin America and the Caribbean combined use the 1X.

The CDMA can be found at