Thomas K Thomas on The Hindu Business Line on June 9, 2009
New Delhi, June 8 Notwithstanding the fact that there are more number of operators moving towards offering GSM-based mobile services, the CDMA Development Group (CDG) has projected that India will have 100 million new CDMA subscribers over the next two years if operators are given adequate spectrum.
Speaking to Business Line, Mr Perry LaForge, Chairman of the CDG, said, “We think the CDMA subscriber base will grow another 100 million in two years. Both Tata Tele Services and Reliance Communications have reiterated their strong commitment to CDMA. They have been clear that the decision to implement GSM was really a matter of necessity because they do not have visibility as to when and what spectrum they will receive for CDMA. This situation needs to be corrected so that these operators can continue to grow wireless communications in this market. CDMA will flourish here in India if spectrum is provided.”
There are 100 million CDMA subscribers currently with Reliance Communications and Tata Tele both of whom are rolling out GSM services as well. Among the new players only Sistema Shyam has chosen to adopt the CDMA technology.
‘Faster growth than GSM’
Mr Laforge said the growth of CDMA has been much faster than GSM. “CDMA started years after GSM launched (GSM started in 1995). After seven years GSM reached 10 million subscribers. CDMA launched in 2003 and by 2004 reached 10 million subscribers and by 2007, 50 million subscribers — the fastest of all technologies to reach 50 million subscribers. We have now reached the 100 million mark just two years later. This is remarkable growth and CDMA operators have achieved 25 per cent of the market with just two operators competing against entrenched operators.”
However, Mr LaForge said, for this growth to continue, operators will need to have spectrum to pursue competition on a level playing field with GSM counterparts.
Mr LaForge said CDMA operators are better positioned to offer broadband services. “With high-speed wireless Internet access now a reality in CDMA with advanced wireless broadband services such as Reliance’s Broadband Netconnect+ and Photon Plus Services offered by Tatas, we see operators continuing to offer more devices, more services while improving their average revenue per subscriber. In many cases, the top wireless broadband operators in the world, in terms of performance, are CDMA operators. Examples include KDDI and Verizon. We believe this will continue to fuel CDMA growth here in India,” said Mr LaForge.