Congressman defends bill to require CDMA in Iraq

James Rogers jamesr at
Wed Apr 9 17:30:34 PDT 2003

From: Michael Shields
> "James Rogers" <jamesr at> wrote:
> > 3) If you are going to build a wireless telecom 
> infrastructure, CDMA 
> > in its various forms is a substantially better technology than GSM.
> Which do you think is more important: technological 
> superiority, or standardization?

It seems you are trying to create a false dichotomy.  The economically
correct answer is almost always in the middle.  For long-term infrastructure
investments, better technology almost always more than pays for itself over
following an old tried-and-true "standard".  Why bother deploying this
newfangled long-haul fiber Ethernet or wireless IP doodad when we can use a
ubiquitous telco standard like SONET/TDM?

Speaking of GSM itself, I think the "standardization" is oversold, never
mind that Europe is slowly making the move to CDMA technologies.  I've owned
GSM phones for many years.  The only thing nice about them was the removable
GSM chip, but just about everything else about them pretty much sucked.  I
no longer have a GSM phone because I can still roam the bloody continent and
I get better service to boot using other protocols.  Quite frankly, I don't
think the world at large has a huge need for global telecom standardization;
telecom only really needs to be standardized regionally.  CDMA is more than
sufficiently "standard" to be a reasonable solution.

So yes, the standardization of GSM is worth about a nickel to the average
Iraqi.  The cost savings of having a modern CDMA system as opposed to a
decrepit GSM system will be significant over the long run.  In five years
when the rest of the world is using CDMA-based systems, I doubt the Iraqis
will be particularly happy that they have an almost new TDMA system that
they just paid for.  If you are going to do it, at least do it right.  When
putting in new infrastructure it is generally a better idea to standardize
on what the standard will be tomorrow (CDMA) rather than what the standard
was yesterday (TDMA/GSM).

-James Rogers
 jamesr at

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