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CDMA lobby group taciturn on Telstra details

A lobby group pushing for Telstra to sell off its doomed CDMA mobile network has declined to respond directly to the telco's claim that technical reasons would prohibit a sale. Telstra is replacing its existing CDMA mobile phone network with a 3G (WCDMA) equivalent, bringing the bush into line with metro areas.
Written by Renai LeMay, Contributor on
A lobby group pushing for Telstra to sell off its doomed CDMA mobile network has declined to respond directly to the telco's claim that technical reasons would prohibit a sale.

Telstra is replacing its existing CDMA mobile phone network with a 3G (WCDMA) equivalent, bringing the bush into line with metro areas. However the CDMA network is seen as a key resource by regional Australia and Telstra is under pressure to keep it running.

The latest push came this week as the CDMA Development Group (CDG) lobbied the federal government to force Telstra to sell off rather than decommission the asset. The group represents over 80 telcos worldwide which have joined to direct the path of CDMA technology, including Telstra.

However CDG Asia-Pacific spokesperson James Person declined to directly refute Telstra's comments it could not sell the CDMA network because its spectrum and 80 percent of infrastructure was being redeployed into the 3G/WCDMA network.

"We have not weighed into the details on how another CDMA network would operate alongside of any other network in Australia," Person said today in a telephone interview with ZDNet Australia.

"Our interest as a trade association isn't in those details, our interest is merely that some of our member companies are very interested in keeping CDMA operating in Australia," he continued.

"The outcome we're looking for is that CDMA stays in Australia."

Person did say, however that in principle CDMA and WCDMA networks could operate simultaneously, with several examples in the United States, Canada and elsewhere.

"For example, CDMA from several operators (including Sprint, Verizon Wireless, Alltel, US Cellular, etc) has about a 50 percent market share in the US," he said. "Cingular operates analogue, TDMA, GSM and WCDMA in the 850Mhz and 1900Mhz bands."

"This sort of competition is great for consumers and is what the CDG is interested in keeping in Australia."

While Persons had earlier alleged he knew of a number of telcos that would be interested in buying Telstra's old network, he declined to name them.

A legacy technology?
Person took issue with Telstra spokesperson Rod Bruem's comments that CDMA was an "inferior technology" that was "on the way out".

"I find the Telstra spokesperson's comments highly misleading and inaccurate regarding the status of CDMA around the world," the CDG spokesperson said.

He added over 225 million of the group's combined 300 million subscribers globally were using CDMA networks, and claimed the EV-DO wireless broadband upgrades Telstra is using on its CDMA network constituted the fastest 3G system available anywhere.

"The roadmap of CDMA remains strong and up to two years ahead of WCDMA," Persons said.

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