Congressman defends bill to require CDMA in Iraq

James Rogers jamesr at
Thu Apr 10 13:07:57 PDT 2003

From: Michael Shields [mailto:shields at] 
> It's not clear to me that the CDMA->CDMA2000 transition would 
> really be much less expensive than the GSM->CDMA2000 or 
> GSM->W-CDMA transitions.

I don't disagree at all.  All the upgrade paths will probably be equally
expensive because they all essentially require a rebuild of the
infrastructure for all intents and purposes.

I don't have a horse in this race because, quite frankly, I have zero
interest in it.  I do think the case for W-CDMA is totally contrived and
more a case of "Not Invented Here" on the part of the Europeans (who didn't
want to admit that CDMA was a better technology in the first place).  They
would probably be better off just using CDMA2000/3G and calling it a day.
The European telecom industry doesn't like Qualcomm, but over time they have
had to grudgingly admit that Qualcomm had it right and the relationship is
pretty adversarial.

> Well, this is a matter of opinion.  I am extremely 
> unimpressed with current CDMA phones, especially since 
> Motorola's new models are actually larger and heavier than 
> the previous generation (V8160). My new Ericsson T600 
> (800/1800/1900 GSM) is far superior.

*Shrug*.  Motorola phones have generally sucked for a long time.  My
Ericsson GSM phones were always better than my Motorola GSM phones.  Both
the Europeans and Japanese know how to make better phones than Motorola in
my opinion.

> I don't agree with you, but for the sake of argument let's 
> say regional standardization is enough.  Iraq is about the 
> size of California, and GSM is used by all of its neighbors.  
> Do you think that is a large enough region?

How long will all of its neighbors be using GSM?  If Europe, North America,
and parts of Asia migrate to CDMA in the relative short-term, I'm not sure
that this has advantages other than in the short-term.  By the time the
infrastructure actually gets built, important sections of the world will be
well on their way to a CDMA conversion.  This is what I'm concerned about.

If you are going to build a new network from scratch, CDMA2000 or W-CDMA
would be the smart choices.  Of those, CDMA2000 is probably the better bet
at this point in time.  I just don't think it is a particularly wise idea to
invest in an inferior technology merely for the sake of being backwardly
compatible with a technology that nobody in the first-world plans on
deploying any more.  Five years ago GSM would have been a good choice for
building a new network, but not today.


-James Rogers
 jamesr at

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