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India, China to drive CDMA market: Qualcomm

September 19, 2003 14:07 IST

Upbeat about the growing global code division multiple access market, CDMA pioneer and world leader Qualcomm on Friday placed its bet on China and India to be the driving force of the new revolutionary digital wireless technology.

Lavishing praise on China United Telecommunications Corporation (China Unicom), China's second largest mobile telecom carrier and Reliance Infocom Limited, a company promoted by Reliance Industries Limited, Irwin Mark Jacobs, chairman and CEO, Qualcomm, said the two companies would lead the CDMA revolution in China and India.

While China Unicom has built an entirely new CDMA network across the country, Reliance has also established a fibre network and a CDMA 2000 network in India despite some hiccups due to legal and tariff battles between service providers.

"We have been estimating that probably they (Reliance) would have 5 million to 6 million CDMA subscribers. They have been moving ahead so rapidly that it looks like that they will be beating those numbers," he told reporters in Beijing.

"They are off to a very strong start," he commented on the performance of Reliance.

"With over 3 million subscribers today and the big season Diwali festival coming up next month, that should be an exciting opportunity for them," Jeff Jacobs, president, global development, Qualcomm, said.

Reliance and Qualcomm had recently signed a definitive agreement to launch a wireless data service based on Qualcomm's binary runtime environment for wireless (BREW) solution that would allow subscribers to download brew-based applications over the air - allowing them to personalise their mobile phones virtually anytime, anywhere.

Another company official said Qualcomm, which set up its India operations in 1995, is working as a technology facilitator for operators who have adopted the CDMA technology.

Qualcomm India also takes inputs from these operators of their experience in the market and passes these inputs to the Qualcomm headquarters for development of market specific products, he said.

In 1995, when Qualcomm was into manufacturing of infrastructure equipment and handset terminals, it worked with Department of Telecommunications in India on a pilot project for assessing the suitability of technology as a viable alternative for fixed line telephone services.

"The project was extremely successful which paved the way for future for CDMA rollout in India," he added.

After exiting from the infrastructure and handset business, Qualcomm continues to interact extensively with operators who are either making a decision or are taking a decision for adopting the CDMA technology, he added.

Meanwhile, Irwin Jacobs said that Qualcomm had successfully completed the first phase of a comprehensive GSML X technology trial in cooperation with China Unicom in East China's Suzhou city.

Anil K Joseph in Beijing
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