US Rep: Vive la CDMA!
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and Siemens AG (NYSE: SI; Frankfurt: SIE) currently stand to benefit from purchase orders for what he calls “the outdated French standard.”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