The proliferation of CDMA2000 technology continued unabated in 2004. By the end of the year there were 107 CDMA operators in 53 countries serving more than 145 million people, up from 85.4 million users at the start of the year. According to data released today by the CDMA Development Group (CDG), 31 new CDMA2000 networks were commissioned during the course of the year, with a growing interest in the rollout of CDMA in the 450MHz band. Following the launch of CDMA450 networks in Romania (Zapp) and Russia (SkyLink), many analogue operators using NMT-450 technology have either upgraded their 1G networks or have begun the phased migration to CDMA2000. MSI in Indonesia and China Telecom-backed Tibet Telecom Company rolled out services in 2004, with operators in Cambodia, Vietnam, Brazil and other countries in Latin America set to follow suit. Even in mature wireless markets in western Europe such as Norway and Sweden, governments are issuing 450MHz licences to cover low population density and remote areas. By 31 December 2004 there were 17 commercial CDMA450 networks in operation with a further twelve scheduled to be deployed.
The year also marked an acceleration in the deployment of high speed CDMA2000 1x EV-DO platforms. Nine new networks were launched in 2004, while a further 17 are currently being rolled out in Asia, Australia, the Americas and Europe. Verizon Wireless of the US expanded service coverage to 32 markets covering 75 million people, while Eurotel Prague introduced a nationwide 1x EV-DO service in the 450MHz band, capturing more than 10% of the broadband internet access market in four months. CDMA2000 operators also reported rising demand for data-based services. KDDI in Japan and South Korea’s SK Telecom generated 22% and 19% respectively from data services, with the majority of CDMA2000 operators averaging 4%-5% of their total revenues from data.