US Rep: Vive la CDMA!

A senior Republican politician is enraged by plans to build a wireless network in post-conflict Iraq based on the "outdated French standard" GSM, believing it should instead be based on CDMA, the "superior U.S. technology" (see Iraq: CDMA vs GSM).

U.S. Congressman Darrell Issa objects to a proposal by the U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Agency for International Development that would see federal funds used to build a GSM network in Iraq once the current conflict is over.

Republican Issa, a former U.S. Army captain who represents the 49th District of California in the United States House of Representatives, has drafted a letter to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, urging him to "use American developed CDMA cell phone technology."

The construction of a CDMA network would financially benefit the technology's developer, California-based Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM), and, potentially, U.S. network vendors Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU) and/or Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT).

But Issa believes the construction of a GSM network could benefit companies from France and Germany, the two European nations that have most strongly opposed U.S. policy on Iraq. Issa is incensed that vendors such as Alcatel SA (NYSE: ALA; Paris: CGEP:PA) and Siemens AG (NYSE: SI; Frankfurt: SIE) currently stand to benefit from purchase orders for what he calls “the outdated French standard.”

“It is outrageous that these agencies are planning to spend taxpayer dollars on a competitive foreign technology, when we have a superior U.S. technology (CDMA) available to us,” writes Issa. “This news is especially offensive given the French opposition to U.S. diplomatic and military initiatives related to Iraq.”

In addition to the taxpayer issue, Issa claims that the ability for CDMA-based phones to include integrated global positioning system features would enable U.S. relief workers to be immediately located in case of terrorist attack or kidnapping. Issa asserts that European GSM cell phones do not have this capability.

Issa concludes with a plea to safeguard “hundreds of thousands of American jobs” dependent upon the success of CDMA: “If the U.S. government deploys U.S.-developed CDMA in Iraq, then American companies will manufacture most of the necessary equipment here in the United States.”

According to the Senator’s personal website (Click here), the letter has been well received by U.S. officials, with members of Congress eager to add their support to the campaign.

— Justin Springham, Senior Editor, Europe, Unstrung

lrmobile_castro 12/5/2012 | 12:21:34 AM
re: US Rep: Vive la CDMA! Sounds like congressman Issa has been spending time with the EU's policy makers. He even seeks to apply a variant of European telecom policy (if europe does not make it then europe will not buy it) to iraq. But seriously folks why would the US spend US tax payer money in iraq where americans are dying to help european companies? would Europe do that? I don't think so.
ctr001 12/5/2012 | 12:21:33 AM
re: US Rep: Vive la CDMA! if they go with CDMA then I hope they use Nortel kit...
spc_canute 12/5/2012 | 12:21:16 AM
re: US Rep: Vive la CDMA!

Woah! Qualcomm's Jacobs recent attack on WiFi and now this!

If you don't buy from me you can't be a patriot, interesting strategy. I wonder what big and very important North American GSM equipment manufacturers like Lucent, Motorola, Cisco and Nortel think of that?

Pointers to poster 'castro''s insight into EU telecom policy would be appreciated. I suspect that reality is more subtle than that and has little to do with nationalistic rhetoric.

Analog systems like AMPS in the U.S. and TACS in the U.K. existed. GSM was about going digital. The first CDMA networks were launched in 1995 but by then several million people were already using GSM and more importantly there were in excess of 45 operational networks worldwide. Going GSM assured interoperability to many. Additionally, GSM is an open standard and CDMA has had all sorts of patent issues associated with it preventing technology adoption. These battles were not U.S. vs. Europe, for example Motorola and Qualcomm began battling this out in 1997 and eventually resolved in 2000 http://www.qualcomm.com/press/....


BTW 'castro', the U.K. is a EU country, U.K. citizens are dying in this war too.
standardsarefun 12/5/2012 | 12:20:46 AM
re: US Rep: Vive la CDMA! surely in the newly established "post Saddam" democractically elected government would be the right authority to set the country's telecom policy on issues such as the choice of cellular mobile technology?

Naturally they would then base this decision on which technology is best for their people, with due consideration for the cellular technology in the neighbouring countries.

Sorry to sound so political on such a learned and highly technical web site as this!

P.S. Don't forget that good USA companies such as Motorola make their GSM gear in good old UK..
lrmobile_castro 12/5/2012 | 12:20:40 AM
re: US Rep: Vive la CDMA! I don't consider this a patriotic issue at all. It is more of a common sense issue. If US tax payers have to pay for it then why should we (US taxpayers) not also seek to help US companies, and UK companies (who have sided with the US in this fine mess) in the process.

The cellular industry is all about politics and the EU really has led the pack in that regard. Operators in the EU HAD to deploy GSM for 2nd generation and in virtually all cases they have to deploy W-CDMA for 3G. I doubt its just coincidence that the various european agencies have chosen technologies that are European centric and full of patents which are owned by European countries. That is fine. i understand that. However, Europe shouldn't complain when others do the same (as has been the case in china).

Now for this GSM is open CDMA is closed stuff. I'd say that is true and false. GSM is more open than CDMA but both are closed in their own ways. GSM has factored its margins on the infra side. Qualcomm has structured its margins on IP and chipsets.
Bondibeach 12/5/2012 | 12:19:40 AM
re: US Rep: Vive la CDMA! After they blow the Iraqis into a third world nation, the US can rebuild a third world network for them - CDMA.
spc_canute 12/5/2012 | 12:18:25 AM
re: US Rep: Vive la CDMA!

The thing is what is common sense? Sadly, subjective beliefs and biases often parade as common sense.

Little doubt that most industries are bedevilled by politics hence NAFTA, WTO etc etc. The politics in Europe was about about becoming digital, focusing on roaming, homogenising and tariffs. Yes, EU operators HAD to deploy GSM: there was nothing else around when they wanted to go digital: the first gsm network operator opened up in 1992 in Finland and by the end of the year there were 13 networks on air. How could Europe use CDMA?, it was in a hurry to go digital, but CDMA networks weren't rolled out until 1995 and, correcting an error in my previous message, by this time there were not 45 operational GSM networks worldwide but close to 140.

Let us get to the real story here. It is not the ruckus caused by the Darrell Issa, representative of the 49 district of California. To me this representation on behalf of Qualcomm ( See today's LA times http://www.latimes.com/busines... together with Qualcomm CEO's recent attack on WiFi suggests a sense of desperation in Qualcomm: it seems things ain't going well.


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