RealTime IT News

U.S. Cellular Gives Up On TDMA

U.S. Cellular , one of the largest digital wireless phone carriers in the world, is giving up on one of its technology standards to bolster another after signing an equipment deal with Nortel Networks Thursday.

The deal calls for 3,500 base stations and switches to migrate to the code-division multiple access (CDMA) 2000 1X standard -- the standard's entryway to 3G -- over the next five years.

That's the bulk of its total network, the part using time-division multiple access (TDMA) technology to deliver wireless phone communications. According to a report by Reuters, the cost to convert the network to CDMA2000 will cost between $400-450 million and be available to the public in late-2002 to 2003.

TDMA, the standard powering the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) cellular phones of companies like AT&T Wireless, has quickly grown out of favor in the U.S., even though the standard is de facto king throughout Asia and Europe.

American wireless carriers like Verizon and Cingular use CDMA2000 technology however, a spread spectrum technology many consider better for handling data packets over the air.

Pascal Debon, Nortel Networks wireless networks president, said he's pleased to help the company transition the rest of the network to the popular equipment.

"U.S. Cellular is a long standing customer, and we are committed to helping them drive down costs through networking efficiencies based on our CDMA solutions," he said. "We have shown tremendous momentum in recent months with contract wins across the globe that are extending our next- generation wireless footprints. We have now announced more than 25 major 3G contracts globally, and are proud to see the world's leading operators turn to Nortel Networks as a primary infrastructure provider."