CDMA2000 users pass the 100 million barrier

5 Aug 2004

According to statistics from the CDMA Development Group (CDG), the number of people owning CDMA2000 handsets topped 100 million at the end of June, outstripping the performance of the rival UMTS platform W-CDMA by a considerable margin. The CDG’s executive director Perry LaForge said reaching the milestone of 100 million users and then passing it – today the number stands at 112 million – was a ‘ringing endorsement’ of the technology, but many claim that as CDMA2000 does not constitute a full-blown equivalent of W-CDMA, such a comparison is inaccurate. The statistics include figures from operators around the world which have thus far only rolled out CDMA 1xRTT (radio telecommunications technology) networks, but as these fall short of the technical specification of what constitutes 3G, many have scoffed at suggestions that W-CDMA is falling behind in the race. The controversy over CDMA2000 stems from the upgrade path used by the platform. CDMA 1xRTT offers data speeds of up to 144kbps and is generally only regarded as a 2.5G upgrade. It does, however, have two significant advantages in that rollout costs are lower and, unlike GPRS and EDGE, CDMA 1xRTT doubles voice capacity on the network. The evolution of the technology beyond 1xRTT is labelled 1xEV and divided into two steps: 1xEV-DO and 1xEV-DV. The former stands for evolution data only, while 1xEV-DV (evolution data and voice) is seen by some as the ultimate 3G upgrade.