If Siemens is correct in their predictions, American cellphone users could be facing a change in mobile phone standards. Currently, North Americans primarily use the CDMA standard. A senior Siemens executive sees a potential shift to GSM. “Latin America is already moving from CDMA technologies to GSM,” said Christoph Catselitz, the head of Siemens AG’s mobile networks business. “I would not bet on North America continuing with CDMA.”
CDMA, or code division multiple access, was invented by Qualcomm. It has 500 million users in the Americas and Asia. Almost all of the chipsets for the standard are made by Qualcomm. Global system for mobile communication, or GSM, was invented in Europe. It has 1.6 billion users worldwide. CDMA is losing market share because more new users live in GSM areas.
Of major importance to the development of the standards is, not surprisingly, China. They will be issuing 3G licenses early next year and will then spend more than $10 billion to set up 3G networks.