One topic which doesn't receive as much comment as it should is the current plight of the UMTS mobile phone situation, and the rapid rise of wCDMA. Two or three years ago we were being told that the technological future of Europe was being guaranteed by its UMTS lead. Whatsmore the superiority of the Brussels based 'central planning' uniform-standards model was clearly being demonstrated. Now there's an eery silence. Obviously the small-components-loosely-joined argument was not 'well understood'. This is an especially preoccupying situation as it throws some light on what 'structural reform' in the euro-zone may really mean in practice in the context of a technology market based on dynamic competition.
A record-breaking 12 million users signed up for mobile phone services using CDMA technology in the fourth quarter of last year, bringing total CDMA subscribers to nearly 147 million as of the end of 2002, according to the CDMA Development Group (CDG), a US-based trade association. The total figure for CDMA subscribers included 33 million 3G CDMA2000 users, the association said. North America is the biggest CDMA market, with 62 million subscribers. The Caribbean and Latin America market comes in second, with 27 million users. CDMA subscribers in China contributed significantly to CDMA expansion in the Asia-Pacific region, where more than 13 million CDMA subscribers were added last year. Asia also has the highest proportion of 3G subscribers, driven mainly by CDMA2000 services in South Korea and Japan, according to the association. Aiming to penetrate the CDMA market, Nokia unveiled five new CDMA handsets – the 3586i, 6585, 2270, 2275 and 2285 – at the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association’s (CTIA) wireless conference in New Orleans last week.Nokia held a 35.8% share in the global handset market last year, but only has about a 10% share of the global CDMA market. South Korea’s Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics (LGE) are the world’s two largest CDMA handset vendors, with approximate 27% and 20% shares of the global market, respectively.