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The CDMA Development Group Releases Statement Regarding Recent Third Generation (3G) Harmonization Activities

COSTA MESA, Calif., Dec.10, 1998 - The CDMA Development Group (CDG) today released a statement commenting on recent announcements concerning harmonizing third generation mobile technologies (3G) for the International Telecommunications Union's (ITU) IMT-2000 proposal.

Perry LaForge, executive director of the CDG said, "The CDG is not surprised by the ITU's recent announcements regarding harmonization. On Monday, the ITU warned the global wireless industry that CDMA-based proposals could be excluded from further consideration if the Intellectual Property Right (IPR) issue is not resolved by the end of this year. Historically, the CDG has been the only voice promoting harmonization and has attempted to facilitate dialog and compromise on the 3G issue on numerous occasions throughout the past year. In fact, for the last year, we have warned that an impasse on 3G IPR will lead to substantial delays if not curtail the ITU effort. The CDG strongly supports the work of the ITU and calls on the various parties to seek true compromise so that 3G systems can be deployed on a timely basis."

LaForge also noted, "While the ITU may proceed forward on a TDMA proposal for 3G, it is clear that the market demands a CDMA-based solution. We do not see much support for a TDMA-based 3G proposal, but we are not discouraging the ITU from completing its work on TDMA proposals. We believe that the marketplace will decide whether or not it desires a TDMA 3G proposal."

He added, "We must note that independent of whether or not the ITU resolves the 3G debate, the CDG stands firm on our commitment to the rapid evolution of cdmaOne to CDMA2000. We will be working with standards bodies around the world to ensure that we meet the timetables that we have put forward and will deliver on the promise that CDMA holds. We plan to deliver high speed Internet access (144 KBPS) and other 3G related services with existing cdmaOne systems in the next 18 months. We are on track in our development and standardization efforts."

LaForge continued, "On the heels of the ITU announcement, Ericsson has now announced its attempt to harmonize W-CDMA and CDMA2000. While the CDG is interested in compromise, and in fact has offered compromise proposals on numerous occasions, we find it frustrating that Ericsson says it is trying to compromise, but again chooses a chip rate (3.84) that is made purposely incompatible with the CDMA2000 proposal. The CDG views this move as purely political and is clearly anything but a compromise. As we have pointed out in our 3G white paper on the CDG website (, as well as in technical contributions to ETSI and the TIA, the original chip rate selected for W-CDMA will not work within the 5 MHz frequency allocation in many countries. This requires the developers of W-CDMA to change to a lower chip rate other than 4.096, say 3.8 or lower. Given that they have to change, it is a perfect opportunity to achieve harmonization because chip rate is a key issue for existing CDMA operators. Unfortunately, to then suggest, as Ericsson does, a rate different than the chip rate we have proposed-just for difference sake-only continues to foster the sense of division on this issue. Clearly there is no difference in performance between 3.68 and 3.84 Mcps. There is no IPR associated with 3.68 or 3.84 Mcps. The implementation for GSM users going to W-CDMA is no more complex if the chip rate is 3.68 than if it is 3.84 or 4.096. Chip rate only matters to existing CDMA operators. So how then is 3.84 a compromise? It isn't. We believe that until we get beyond this issue of trying to make W-CDMA purposely incompatible, then it will be difficult to resolve the current stalemate."

"While there are also a number of other technical parameters to achieve harmonization, chip rate remains the key issue," added LaForge. "Chip rate is important because it clearly shows the intention to make W-CDMA incompatible with CDMA2000. There are already credible proposals in place for harmonization to resolve the few other differences between W-CDMA and CDMA2000. We have shown great flexibility on those other parameters and encourage further dialog on these differences."
LaForge concluded, commenting on the benefits of harmonization, "We still believe in harmonization. Harmonization provides the wireless industry economies of scale and a competitive environment that focuses on features and services, rather than technical standards. Additional benefits of harmonization include lower research and development costs, worldwide roaming, stronger wireless competition with landline telecommunications systems, fulfillment of the ITU IMT-2000 goals and, most importantly, increased consumer satisfaction."