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Verizon to switch-hit?
Cellular Gateways a big hit

Geek.com
December 19, 2005

Currently, Verizon uses CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) wireless network technology. However, a spokesperson from the company said it might switch to a competing technology known as wCDMA in 2004. wCDMA is not a newer version of CDMA but an upgrade of the GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) technology wireless operators in Europe and Asia use.

GSM and CDMA have subtle differences, but operators using 3G versions of GSM and CDMA will be able to offer high-speed, always-connected Internet access. If Verizon, the largest wireless company in the U.S., moves forward with wCDMA, it could push GSM and its standards to become dominant. Today's wireless technology uses GSM and CDMA running on different types of hardware that cannot interact with each other. A half-billion customers are using phones based on the GSM network while fewer than 100 million use CDMA. If Verizon switches technology GSM will become the global standard.

Verizon's motivation to consider the change could be coming from Vodafone, which took a 45 percent stake in Verizon. Vodafone uses a GSM network and plans to upgrade to wCDMA. Vodafone's European customers can't use their phones when in the U.S. because Verizon's CDMA technology is incompatible with the Vodafone's GSM technology. To overcome this, Vodafone has roaming agreements with other companies, including its rival in Europe, VoiceStream. Verizon's change will enable Vodafone to use just one network.

All of this sounds good, but analysts are wary about the possible attempt to switch technology, citing NTT's DoCoMo continuous failed attempts to launch on unproven network technology.