Is Telecom making a mistake by going GSM/UMTS?

, posted: 24-Mar-2007 12:56

That question springs to mind after reading a release from the CDMA Development Group that states CDMA2000 is doubling its subscriber base to 45 million. Erm, in South Asia that is. Telecom users can in theory now roam in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, as 26 operators in those countries have selected CDMA2000. Now users in rural and urban areas in South Asia can have access to CDMA2000 delivered ringtones, daily info data casts and wowie! ethnic music downloads.

One a more serious note, the release has some interesting facts and figures. Leaving aside speculation as to which technology will become dominant eventually, the CDG notes that over 1.6 billion people, or one fifth of the world's population, live in South Asia.

Even so, the "teledensity" of the region is low: of India and Pakistan's populations, some eleven per cent have phones and five to six per cent Internet access. In Afghanistan, the figures are 4.35 per cent and 0.1 per cent respectively.

With vast populations and low usage, there's clearly scope to grow in South Asia, provided the economies in that region develop to so that people can afford phones and Internet connectivity.

However, the South Asian markets are likely to be based on volume sales rather than high margins as in New Zealand for instance. CDG notes that at least two suppliers offer 3G CDMA2000 handsets for less than US$30, and five have devices for less than US$40. This year, CDG expects another thirty "ultra low-cost CDMA2000 mobile handset designs" to become commercially available from more than fifteen suppliers.

Maybe Telecom should look at some of those suppliers for cheap devices for the home market?

Other related posts:
TDD vs FDD for LTE
Huawei TDD LTE demo aboard the Shanghai MagLev train
Apropos that new Telecom logo

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