Korean CDMA networks pass 250,000 subscriber mark
Hong Kong system doubles subscriber base in six months
Japan clears way for implementation of CDMA standard
COSTA MESA, CA -- Four of the leading economic powers of
Asia have selected or are conducting trials using the CDMA
(Code Division Multiple Access) format for wireless communications
systems. CDMA is being embraced by these nations as their
next generation digital wireless standard because it offers
greater capacity, provides better in-building coverage and
delivers superior call quality and reliability.
South Korea and Hong Kong are experiencing rapid levels of
growth in their commercial CDMA cellular systems. Japan is
turning to CDMA to solve a growing crisis of spectrum congestion.
South Korea's CDMA cellular systems are experiencing explosive
growth, adding new users at a rate of 2,000 per day.
According to ETRI, the Korean telecommunications research
institute, cellular phone service utilizing CDMA has grown
to cover over 250,000 customers. The total number of CDMA
subscribers is expected to exceed 1 million by the end of
Korea Mobile Telecom (KMT) launched Korea's first commercial
CDMA digital cellular service in January 1996 as an overlay
to its existing network. By the end of the year, KMT plans
to provide CDMA cellular coverage for the entire country.
Shinsegi Telecomm Inc. introduced an entirely new CDMA-based
cellular network in the Seoul and the Taejon regions in April
1996. Shinsegi plans to extend coverage to 72% of the Korean
populace by year's end.
Besides CDMA cellular systems, South Korea has ambitious plans
for PCS networks. The South Korean government has issued licenses
for three PCS franchisees, all three of which have selected
CDMA technology. Korea Telecom intends to launch a CDMA PCS
network in 1998.
In Hong Kong, the first commercial CDMA cellular service in
the world is celebrating its first anniversary of operation
Hutchison Telecom selected CDMA to overcome the capacity limits
that made its analog cellular network obsolete. Hutchison
currently has more than 50,000 subscribers for its CDMA system,
an increase of 100% or more from May of this year. The new
digital system is demonstrating six times the cell capacity
of the analog network it replaces.
In Japan, two cellular service providers, DDI and IDO, announced
their intention to migrate to CDMA from their current analog
systems. Commercial service is scheduled to begin before year's
end. Their primary reason for the selection of CDMA was the
greatly increased call capacity CDMA offers.
With explosive growth in wireless subscribers - in excess
of 1 million per month in July 1996 alone - Japan is slated
to run out of available spectrum for additional cellular subscribers
in 1998. CDMA is being viewed as a solution to avert this
crisis by freeing up spectrum due to its greater call capacity.
The Japanese Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications is organizing
an open government/industry consortium to develop wireless
devices using the CDMA format.
CDMA continues to gather momentum in China. Several of the
leading equipment manufacturers are investigating co-production
agreements with Chinese electronics firms. Motorola's Cellular
Infrastructure Group (CIG) has signed a contract with China
Posts and Telecommunications Industry Corp. and the Hangzhou
Communications Equipment Factory to form a joint venture to
begin production of CDMA products by the end of the year.
Wireless Local Loop is one application of CDMA technology
that is particularly attractive to China. The Fujian Posts
and Telecom Administration recently completed China's first
digital phone call in the 1.9-Ghz frequency band. The call
was made using a CDMA wireless local loop system from Motorola.