CDMA has edge over GSM in 3G play

New Delhi, Sept 28 | Updated: Sep 29 2006, 05:30am hrs
The CDMA operators will have an 8-9 month head start over GSM players and a significant price and technology advantage as well in rolling out 3G mobile phone services from the day of acquiring frequency.

This is largely because CDMA players has been given the option to bid for 3G services on the 800 Mhz spectrum that they already use for their current services. GSM players, on the other hand, have been allocated only 2,100 Mhz spectrum for 3G, which requires them to install fresh equipment and new software.

Existing CDMA2000 base stations can be upgraded to support EvDO (evolution data optimised), or 3G, via a simple channel card upgrade. EvDO requires only moderate upgrade of the core network, according to a report by Signals Research Group, a third party research provider.

Worldwide, 3G is deployed in the 800 MHz and 1900 MHz bands. Therefore, the economies of scale in equipment purchase are also in favour of CDMA players. This is not in 2100 Mhz, said BV Raman, country head, CDMA Development Group.

The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) slammed the Trai recommendations, saying they are rather slanted in favour of CDMA and disadvantageous to GSM.

COAI also said, since the propagation characteristics of the 800 Mhz band are more, CDMA will need fewer towers for operations vis--vis the 2100 Mhz.

The Trai recommendations also mean that the price of the 800 Mhz spectrum be one-fourth of the second highest bid for the 2100 Mhz band.