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Don't Cry For CDMA, It's Far From Death's Door

Wireless technology HSPA+ will end up competing with LTE and mobile WiMax, but CDMA EV-DO will continue to grow, ABI Research said.

W. David Gardner

August 18, 2008

2 Min Read

The drive toward next-generation wireless technologies LTE and UMTS/HSPA by cell phone service providers won't be enough to impede the continued growth of CDMA EV-DO, according to a report released Monday by ABI Research.

"The increased support for LTE from incumbent CDMA operators does not imply the imminent death of EV-DO Rev A and B, because LTE is addressing different market needs compared to 3G," said ABI research analyst Khor Hwai Lin in a statement. "Worldwide EV-DO Rev A subscriber numbers ramped up more than eightfold between Q2 2007 and Q2 2008."

Lin noted that the U.S. and South Korean markets have experienced the highest growth rate for EV-DO Rev A, and added that the total forecast for Rev A is for more than 54 million subscribers by 2013; Rev B subscribers are expected to hit 25 million in the same timeframe.

In the report based on its Mobile Subscriber Market database, ABI seeks to sort out the various emerging mobile wireless infrastructures. The market research firm noted that more than 31 million global subscribers are already connected to HSDPA.

HSPA+ will end up competing with LTE and mobile WiMax, ABI research said, adding that midtier operators may not see a need to migrate to LTE, because the technology's very high 100-Mbps speeds may not be deemed to be overly important by those operators.

"LTE is based on OFDM technology that requires new components," said ABI Asia-Pacific VP Jake Saunders, "while a move to HSPA+ is perceived to be more gradual transition."

While the CDMA numbers are substantial, the ABI report revealed that they will be overpowered by GSM 900 subscribers, who will represent a mobile wireless majority stake by 2013, with some 1.2 billion subscribers using the technology by that date.

InformationWeek has also published a report -- "Roadmap To 4G Mobile Networks" -- on the status of 3G and WiMax deployment, as well as predictions about the evolution of the technologies over the next decade, as providers race to deliver 4G performance. Download the report here (registration required).

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