14 September 2005

Mobile standards and developing countries

The report in the URL points to growth in GSM use in Latin America due to the decline in TDMA. The last paragraph of the report is significant, and why both AT&T wireless and Cingular (prior to their merger) independently chose to migrate to GSM from TDMA (and not CDMA) -- cheaper handsets. This is primarily because GSM is a simpler technology, therefore cheaper to implement. Scale economies also play a role, as GSM has the larger market share worldwide by a large margin (over CDMA).

The primary advantage of migrating from TDMA to CDMA is that the migration to 3G is less disruptive and (potentially) less expensive for the service providers.


demko said...

Here's an interesting link that is related to this post. It goes into a little more detail behind the costs of a wireless network and addresses the emerging market for them in developing nations.

Phil Cox said...

I think in this country we have a limited awareness of the limitations of economic resources in Latin America, both of the users, and the telecommunications companies. Since GSM uses TDMA technology, I am not sure how much infrastructure can be reused when migrating from existing TDMA (presumably IS-136?). But the capital investment is a significant consideration in those countries, as well as the cost to users. This may be an example of the use of appropriate technology with limited resources.

Martin Weiss said...

Motorola (and others, I believe) are working on low cost handsets for developing countries. My hunch is that they would certainly be GSM. I don't have an article to point to.