Friday, February 13, 2009

Korea 3G finally shifts to W-CDMA

For 2G, Korea was exclusively cdmaOne, the only country in the world where this was true. Operators quickly got into 3G by offering cdma2000 on their existing frequencies, but the government licenses specified W-CDMA for new 3G frequencies that (IIRC) were compatible with the Japanese selections. As with anything else in Korea, each round of choices was designed to protect (or at least help) the export efforts of Korean companies.

The website Cellular News reported Thursday that in Q4 2008, the total W-CDMA subscribers in Korea finally passed those for cmda2000: 16.5 million vs. 14.9 million. For me, this marks the end of an era for Qualcomm’s original success story in Korea, marred only by the periodic royalty complaints.

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