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CDMA Emerges As The Premier Choic in U.S. Markets

Wider coverage compared to competing technologies gives the consumer a greater selection of service providers

COSTA MESA, CA, March 6, 1997 -- In a recent analysis of technology choices made by A through F Block PCS licensees in the United States, Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) has emerged as the premier choice for PCS carriers with the largest footprint of any digital technology in the U.S. market. CDMA system operators blanket the entire United States in terms of both population and geography.

According to research conducted by the CDMA Development Group (CDG), CDMA service providers cover 100 percent of the U.S. population. Of the 2,958 PCS licenses awarded nationwide, nearly 51 percent of the license holders have chosen CDMA technology for their networks. GSM, in contrast, was adopted by only 28 percent of licensees. TDMA finished in third place with adoption by 20 percent of the licensees.

The larger number of CDMA licensees means that consumers using CDMA will be able to choose from a greater selection of service providers than consumers using other technologies. For the PCS auctions, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) divided the United States into 483 Basic Trading Areas (BTAs). The average number of CDMA operators per BTA is 2.4, while GSM averages only 1.3 operators per BTA. Over 83 percent of the BTAs have more than one CDMA operator and 48 percent have three or more. In contrast, only 30 percent of the BTAs have more than one GSM operator.

"CDMA is now the dominant U.S. digital technology choice for both cellular and PCS," said Perry LaForge, executive director of the CDG. "The blanket coverage of CDMA will ensure nationwide roaming not only between systems of the same type, whether cellular or PCS, but also across systems. That is, a CDMA cellular user will be able to roam on a CDMA PCS network, and vice versa. Furthermore, the greater choice of CDMA operators in the marketplace means better service for the consumer."

North American cities and territories with at least one CDMA carrier with a commercially operating system include: Austin, TX; Baton Rouge, LA; Billings, MT; Bucks County, PA; Charlotte, NC; Dallas, TX; Jacksonville, FL; Las Vegas, NV; Los Angeles, CA; Miami, FL; Milwaukee, WI; New Orleans, LA; Norfolk, VA; Orlando, FL; Phoenix, AZ; Pittsburgh, PA; Portland, OR; Puerto Rico; Richmond, VA; Saint Petersburg, FL; San Antonio, TX; San Diego, CA; San Jose, CA; Spokane, WA; Tampa, FL; Trenton, NJ; the U.S. Virgin Islands; and Washington, DC.

Deployment of CDMA PCS systems under the A through C block licenses are under way in over 180 cities in North America. Over 250 other cities will have CDMA PCS systems deployed under the D, E and F block licenses.

The data used in this study was derived from Federal Communications Commission (FCC) documents and other sources.