‘CDMA is on the way out,’ says Telstra

2 May 2006

Australian incumbent Telstra will not sell-off its CDMA network once it has completed the migration of users to W-CDMA services because ‘80% of the infrastructure is being redeployed,’ spokesperson Rod Bruem told AAP. Telstra Mobile launched CDMA IS-95A services in 1999. It then launched CDMA2000 1x services in 2002 and upgraded the network to 3G 1x EV-DO in November 2004. However, it has decided to mothball all its CDMA-based networks following its rollout of W-CDMA 3G services over infrastructure shared with Hutchison 3G Australia (H3G) in September 2005. It was initially thought that Telstra might sell the infrastructure to a rival cellco or start-up operator, but such talk has now been quashed. The Asia-Pacific arm of the CDMA Development Group had intervened and asked Prime Minister John Howard to keep the CDMA network operating, but its request fell on deaf ears and it seems the network’s fate is now sealed. ‘CDMA is on the way out and other carriers will follow Telstra’s lead because we have the second biggest network in the world,’ Bruem said. H3G is Australia’s only other CDMA network operator and it too is preparing to turn its back on the technology by migrating its users to its W-CDMA platform.

Meanwhile, Telstra has announced that it is to challenge the nation’s antitrust regulator over a ruling that says it is hindering competition in the fixed line market. The incumbent is taking the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to court to contest the legality of a ‘competition notice’ issued by the regulator last month that allows rivals to seek compensation from Telstra for unfair wholesale pricing.