The War Of The World's Wireless Standards
"Cell phones: Europe made the right call" (Science & Technology, Sept. 7) left out an important fact. W-CDMA technology uses wide-band CDMA [code division multiple access]. Q-CDMA uses narrow-band CDMA. While to the wireless unsophisticated they seem like the same technology, they are more different than similar. Q-CDMA uses 1.25 MHz of bandwidth, insufficient for data and most Internet transmission. W-CDMA utilizes a band width oF 10 to 12 times Q-CDMA, which accounts for its ability to transmit the wider path needed for data.
Moreover, it is not true that Qualcomm Inc. developed cdma. While the military pioneered U.S. development, Europeans, especially the Swedes, were working on cdma at the same time. Like all other phone technology since Alexander Graham Bell, everybody and nobody pioneered it. Clearly, the simplest solution should be for general cross-licensing at nominal rates, so typical of the telephone industry in almost every other phase of technOlogy.
As an American living in France, I can use my gsm phone any place I go in Europe. In San Diego, where I also live and own a Qualcomm cdma phone, I can hardly leave the metropolitan area and still use my phone. Even in San Diego, it works in only one-third of the area served, and for mobility I must also access the 15-year-old analog network, which makes me wonder why I ever gave my Motorola Inc. phone to my son. If Qualcomm's promises were fulfilled, their claims against the Europeans might have some merit.