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Old 16th October 2009, 09:45   #1
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Default CDMA : Phones, compatibility and so on

While the GSM world is pretty well universal, the CDMA world is chaotic. In India we have 3 CDMA operators: Reliance, Tata & Virgin. I understand the last pair are effectively the same.

With the advent of UIMs one would have expected that possibility of moving around will exist. Apparently it is only so to the extend of calling & sms and very little else. Push, Net etc. require tweaks.

Also, CDMA phones seem to be frozen in time and price. They are generations old and pricey to boot. For the first time I saw ads (Samsung) pushing CDMA phones. However, considering that the US and Japan are CDMA lands I cannot believe that high end modern CDMA hardware is not available. In fact I have been told that you can buy there on the grey market, or import them, and then you have to tweak/crack them to get them to work to the full functionality.

In many countries phones sold as part of a package (even in India for Blackberry & iPhone) are locked for a certain period of time.

My questions are

1. Why cannot the two (or three) operators agree on a single set of protocols.

2. Why are modern CDMA handsets not available in India. What is wrong with the manufacturers? I do beleive that both RCOM and Tata have large if not huge customer bases.

3. Will not the CDMA market be suffocated by the handset issue. Once number portability comes will it not encourage many to move just because of the handsets.

4. Why the manufacturers not release handsets with a CD containing the customisation code for specific networks, or make this available on the net.

5. Also, is Reliance using the same ptocols as Sprint in the US?

Last edited by sgiitk : 16th October 2009 at 09:57. Reason: Adding last question
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Old 16th October 2009, 13:59   #2
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Exactly my concerns sir. I ahve a CDMA reliance blackberry and continue to be faithful to it because of awesome reliance network which is available even in places most GSM operator's signals do not reach. To get your emails and important calls is bliss. Recently my ages old BB decided to die down on me. I have since been following Reliance for a new phone. Thankfully they have released the BB tour, one of the latest BB phones but is still to be delivered to me.

Mt problem was exact, CDMA instruments just are not available in the grey market, as they are not available with the prpoviders. I guess there is comparatively very meagre demand for it.
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Old 16th October 2009, 14:43   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by V-16 View Post
.......Thankfully they have released the BB tour, one of the latest BB phones but is still to be delivered to me.

Mt problem was exact, CDMA instruments just are not available in the grey market, as they are not available with the providers. I guess there is comparatively very meagre demand for it. (bold mine - sgiitk)
I do not think the demand can be that low considering Reliance is one of the largest networks, and Tata is not exactly small. Look into the grey market all US top enders are available at an 'almost' throw away price, when compared to what they charge you. The question is how well they have been cracked. Otherwise you will be stuck with calls, and sms and little else. No RWrold, no Push, no mail, etc.

Looking into Reliance compatibility table (under Roaming) I suspect Verizon phones should be 100% compatible. This is data compatible while Sprint is not. How about Japan?

I bet the US & Japan being both CDMA-lands have a cracking set of hardware at a very reasonable price. Incidentally, there is quite a bit on this in rimweb. Also, I have just migrated plans for the second time DAPO > Delight399 > now Simple399.

I think the operators are just greedy and careless. With number portability coming either you see more good hardware or a mass migration.
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Old 17th October 2009, 02:26   #4
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CDMA is proprietary tech and Qualcom and our operators have deliberately brought about the situation dude to their monopolistic tendencies. My 1st mobile phone was a Reliance CDMA, and after being fed up to my neck due to the many disadvantages, I ditched them and swore never to look back at CDMA unless Qualcom and our operators bring it at par with GSM in all/most respects. If they don't then they have to compensate in some other way... like by offering better tariffs. The supposed superiority of CDMA over GSM does not hold in real life as if you compare say Idea Cellular with Reliance CDMA (at least in Mah circle), then both have similar voice clarity. In fact Idea is a bit better (most of the time). I found network coverage of Idea to be significantly better. With respect to texting, any GSM is better than Reliance.
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Old 17th October 2009, 09:10   #5
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Default GSM Vs CDMA

GSM Vs CDMA debate is one of the oldest debate in the mobile telephony world. Let me share some facts and try to provide some answers.

1. CDMA is deployed mainly in US, Japan (now migrated to 3G), Korea and India where as GSM is deployed around the world including in US, India.

2. Scale of GSM is very high. In terms of demand for handsets, GSM/GPRS/EDGE handset demand is ~60% of total demand where as CDMA is ~20-22%.

3.Considering ~1.2B handsets sold this year, GSM throws open major volumes to the handset makers, then they would more focus on that segment to develop new handset models and features. more over due to scale advantage, they are cheaper as well compared to CDMA.

4. GSM handsets are sold more in Retail and CDMA handsets are generally locked to the network. this is also a major hurdle for faster replacement cycles as it is difficult for a consumer to just change the handset like that as in GSM.

5. There are more supporters for GSM technology and hence more network providers, operators and countries have deployed it where as CDMA is invented by Qualcomm and licensing is managed by Qualcomm. More over the entire ecosystem would wait for qualcomm to deliver the new features be in network or in handset or in seminconductors for the handset.
hence the whole innovation cycle more controlled and hence a bit slower.

6. CDMA technology is said to offer better voice clarity compared to GSM, but under regular network conditions, it is difficult to prove which one is better as it is affected by network conditions like position of base stations, power, RF tuning, handover logic, number of subscribers in a cell, handset design etc etc But certainly CDMA offer better data rates (~139 KBPS max) compared to GSM+GPRS which offers ~20-56KBPS depending on number of data slots available. EDGE offers 239 KBPS max again depending on number
data slots available. In India most of the operators have configured the network for only Voice slots hence you see minimum data card users in GSM network, where as in CDMA, data slots are separate than voice slot and if unused data slots will not give any revenue to operators, hence CDMA operators focus on data card business.

7. Roaming : this is the main difference between GSM and CDMA. GSM allows global roaming where as CDMA is a closed service in a region. In India, CDMA operators offer limited roaming where ever their networks have been deployed, again selecting a different operator is not possible as handsets have been (generally) network locked.

8. Handsets : generally GSM handset industry is more open (more players, more companies designing, branding and selling handsets as well as companies developing SW and applications) where as CDMA handset industry is more controlled by Qualcomm. hence the GSM handset related information is more openly available and third party ecosystem is also available as a alternative.

9. Sprint has used CDMA technology, but the actual version of network etc may not be same as that of Indian CDMA operators basically because the CDMA networks deployed in India are more advanced than that in US basically because the deployments have come later in the time period.

10. Number Portablility : this is long awaited, but much delayed. There are Regulatory concerns, concerns form operators on un-fair competition as well as revenue protection. But in my opinion number portability would be introduced in a phased manner viz. within an operator and across the circles, within an operator and across technology platform (CDMA to GSM and vice versa or CDMA/GSM to 3G and vice versa). True and Full number portability would be a myth for some time.

11. The average cost of per minute call in a CDMA network is more than a cost of per minute call in a GSM network. hence in a tarrif war, CDMA operator would end up having lesser margin than a GSM operator. More over due to above shared facts, more CDMA operators are trying to switch to GSM, in fact both Reliance and Tata have launched GSM service as well.
In India CDMA share is currently ~ 20-22% of the total handset demand it has been declining and forecasted (by popular industry analysts) to decline further to 15-16% of total demand in next 2 years.

Last edited by StarVegabond : 17th October 2009 at 09:15.
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Old 17th October 2009, 19:16   #6
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Hi,

Quote:
Originally Posted by sgiitk View Post
In India we have 3 CDMA operators: Reliance, Tata & Virgin. I understand the last pair are effectively the same.
There is atleast one more that I know of: MTS. I have their connection also, though I am mainly with Reliance.

Good handset availability is indeed an issue. Currently I have a Nokia 6275 (after a Nokia 6265) and no scope for upgradation right now.
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Old 17th October 2009, 19:28   #7
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Korea is now move to 3.5G which is HSUPA and HSDPA combined. So if you have handset which support 3.5G then it can work on both network. I have SamsunG Jet which works in India's GSM network as well as in Korea. I have Korean SIM card from KTF and both places it works fine.

Also my Indian international roaming works in Korea with SKT and KTF (there are only two networks in Korea) works flawlessly.
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Old 19th October 2009, 10:26   #8
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I have a feeling that with 3G we may see a convergence. How is 3G coming WCDMA!

@StarVegabond: Thanks for the nice summary. As for as Qualcomm is concerned their interest is in seeing maximum use of CDMA!

Number portability is now coming, first in the metros, and then nationwide (it may be over the dead bodies of some operators). It will be restricted to the Region, i.e. you have to be in the same service area.

Reliance with their Simple99/399 have put a cat among the pigeons. 50p everything, local, STD, roaming, roaming outgoing, roaming incoming, sms. the works except for international! Just reminds you when Reliance had proposed Re.1 for everything, and our babus had a fit! Also, according to rimweb these will be the only plans after six months!

Last edited by sgiitk : 19th October 2009 at 10:28.
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Old 8th November 2009, 21:21   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sgiitk View Post

Reliance with their Simple99/399 have put a cat among the pigeons. 50p everything, local, STD, roaming, roaming outgoing, roaming incoming, sms. the works except for international!
The cat is not from Reliance. It is from DOCOMO. See the way Airtel has buckled and slashed the call charges. Here in Hyderabad, Aircel is another victim.
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Old 23rd November 2009, 20:16   #10
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Korea started deploying & testing latest networks several decades ago. At the forefront was South Korean Telecom(SKT). Then followed Japan's govt. org. NTT DoCoMo which deployed late last decade. The europeans and US waited for these countries to sort out niggles and define commercially viable solutions before venturing themselves. Till last few yearsTRAI was like every other govt. body - toothless. It has been getting powerful and should be able to make the service providers earn every paise.
It isn't the qualcomm or the phone mamufacturers that are conspiring to keep latest phones from coming to India, its just that the cost in importing few thousand pieces (for geeks or the rich who want the latest phones just to show off without being able to use all features) will be too high as compared to manufacturing locally en mass.

BTW, the latest in the field are the android phones which I believe are now availible in local market.

Vijay
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Old 6th December 2009, 19:05   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trrk View Post
Hi,
There is atleast one more that I know of: MTS. I have their connection also, though I am mainly with Reliance.
Good handset availability is indeed an issue. Currently I have a Nokia 6275 (after a Nokia 6265) and no scope for upgradation right now.
I do agree with you. Now you can only have a blackberry added to your list.

HTC phones are also available.
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Old 7th December 2009, 11:38   #12
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Samsung Corby on CDMA !
Samsung CDMA Corby handset apparently releasing in India - Mobiletor.com
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Old 7th December 2009, 11:53   #13
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I understand that most CDMA PDAs are imported, cracked, and then recoded for Reliance/Tata. These are often priced lower than the corresponding GSM units. Try Cellwala.com - HTC Mogul 6800, HTC Diamond & Latest Mobile. I hear that this chap is totally reliable.

Also, i heard that Blackberry have released their Reliance specific BIOS and the same can be downloaded from the Blackberry site!
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Old 7th December 2009, 22:39   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sgiitk View Post
These are often priced lower than the corresponding GSM units. Try Cellwala.com - HTC Mogul 6800, HTC Diamond & Latest Mobile. I hear that this chap is totally reliable.
Sir,
Why go through the reliable person when most of these phones are now available in the RIM Web worlds.

However the HTC Moghul / Diamond may not be available in RIM.
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Old 26th July 2010, 17:18   #15
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Hi

Kindly suggest me a good CDMA phone which has Qwerty keypad and Email features. Wanted to go for BlackBerry but they seem expensive in CDMA when compared against GSM models.
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