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3G/HSPA

CDMA 450 Flows Into Norway

The CDMA 450 market has strengthened its foothold in Europe with an announcement by the Norwegian Post and Telecommunications Authority that Swedish startup carrier Nordisk Mobiltelefon AB has been awarded a license to deploy commercial services in the 450MHz radio spectrum.

The carrier has successfully bid 1,078,600 Norwegian Kroner (US$157,975) for the right to launch the region’s first CDMA 450 network.

Deployed in frequency bands previously hosting analog Nordic Mobile Telephony (NMT) cellular systems, CDMA 450 belongs to the CDMA2000 family of technologies, but operates in the 450MHz spectrum. Signals yield a broader cell radius at 450 MHz than on networks running over 850-, 1800/1900-, or 2100-MHz systems, meaning up to 80 percent fewer base stations are required for a given deployment.

“CDMA 450 gives us all the possibilities of UMTS, but it’s only a small cost in comparison,” Nordisk’s chairman, Jan Freese, tells Unstrung. “We aim to cover between 80 to 90 percent of the country.”

The carrier will have to wait until the beginning of next year before launching the service, as rival Telenor Mobil SA owns the existing NMT 450 license that expires on December 31, 2004.

Nordisk’s award will be welcomed by the glut of network vendors targeting this market. The likes of Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., Nortel Networks Ltd. (NYSE/Toronto: NT), and Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU) have all announced European contract wins; while ZTE Corp., UTStarcom Inc. (Nasdaq: UTSI), and LM Ericsson (Nasdaq: ERICY) have added CDMA 450 products to their portfolios. (See CDMA 450 Seeps Into Europe, Eurotel Picks Nortel, Lucent Scores in Moscow, UTStarcom's CDMA Play, and Ericsson Adds to CDMA Portfolio.)

Freese states that no decision has yet been taken on a network supplier but insists “they are all queuing up for the deal.”

Nordisk’s chairman adds that the carrier is also “hoping” to obtain a license to deploy CDMA 450 services in Sweden.

— Justin Springham, Senior Editor, Europe, Unstrung

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