GSM connectivity now enjoyed by 4 billion
Take that, CDMA
GSM is well on the way to global domination, with one-time rival CDMA serving a mere 423 million compared to the four billion who'll soon be able to make a GSM call.
The news comes from industry advocate group 3G Americas, who reckon that by the end of September phones compliant with the GSM family of standards will be in the hands of four billion people around the world, crushing the Qualcomm-dominated competition.
Except it's not quite that simple: GSM may well be the dominant standard but its 3G implementation is technically known as Wideband CDMA - borrowing much technology from its former competitor - while LTE, the 4th-generation version of GSM, bears little resemblance to its grandparent at all.
According to 3G Americas, about three and a half billion of those users are still on first-generation GSM (known as 2G technology, to separate it from its analogue predecessor), with the rest being on 3G W-CDMA. No one is using LTE quite yet, though that will happen.
So CDMA, iDEN, PDC and TDMA are all destined to survive in tiny niches, if at all, but what of TD-SCDMA and CDMA-2000? The latter pair are two of the three mandated networks in China - to be run by China Mobile and China Telecom respectively - whilst China Unicom gets to use W-CDMA like the rest of the world.
China is an enormous market, and one with huge expansion opportunities, but even China is going to have a hard time pushing against a standard that's already been adopted by four billion people. ®
Put the quoted numbers in context
Since that 400+M is largely based in the US it represents 25% of the worlds economy. When it comes to a political sway 1 Silicon Valley exec != 1 rice patty farmer. CDMA still wins. I bet if you looked at net data transferred that would tell the story.
Ah, yes... I can see it now...
Peasant working in a rice paddy under a harsh and most unyielding hot sun whips out his iPhone 3GS and places a GSM call to his spouse, saying: "Honey, I'm sorry, but I'll be home late tonight."
That, to me, epitomises what '...now enjoyed by 4 billion' means.
(For some value of 'enjoy', mind you.)
Dodgy numbers that reminds me too much of how the U.S. media likes to hype up the American football Super Bowl TV viewership by bandying around outrageous figures such as over one billion people worldwide watched at least a portion of the game.
CDMA is probably a better technology. In addition, CDMA phones don't make funny sounds in AM radios when they broadcast system inquiries. Of course here in silicon valley, the CDMA coverage is a bit better. One of these days AT&T will get a few more towers planted (over peoples objections, ill founded as they are).
As the commercial here says "Its the network!" (then adds "Can you hear me now!").
What really needs to be done is to have the cell phone providers actually publish their DETAILED coverage maps so we could decide better. None of this map with various sized of red dots.