Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?
Wireless Networking Hardware

CDMA vs. GSM in Post-war Iraq 1439

An anonymous reader submits: "Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) is pressing congress to favor CDMA over GSM for mobile phone service in U.S.-funded reconstruction plans. One reason for pushing this is that a CDMA system would benefit American companies, such as California-based Qualcomm, while GSM would favor European companies. Currently, GSM is the most widely used mobile standard in surrounding countries."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

CDMA vs. GSM in Post-war Iraq

Comments Filter:
  • Well... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ken@WearableTech ( 107340 ) <> on Thursday March 27, 2003 @11:50PM (#5612415) Homepage Journal
    If this is going to be US funded I thinks it's okay to favor US companies even though I personally like/use GSM. If the money will be loaned to Iraq and later recouped via oil sales, etc. then GSM should be used. It's not like Sony-Ericsson is a French company!
  • CDMA rocks! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nebbian ( 564148 ) on Thursday March 27, 2003 @11:55PM (#5612455) Homepage Journal
    I've had a CDMA phone for over two years now, and love it to death! There are a number of benefits, including longer range, lower amounts of microwaves hitting your skull, and so on.

    GSM phones can exist in the same area as CDMA, I know this for a fact because all my friends have GSM...

    What will probably happen is that the standard competitive environment will emerge anyway -- company A puts up GSM towers, company B puts up CDMA towers, and both try to convince the public that their system is better. Some people buy one system, some buy the other, based on what's important to that individual. This is, in my opinion, a much better system than relying on one technology -- and it's a system that will emerge without any form of legislation. Why can't political leaders just keep their noses out of it? :-)
  • by plalonde2 ( 527372 ) on Friday March 28, 2003 @12:03AM (#5612529)
    Lookup the Iraq Body Count [] page.

    At about 220 civilian dead now for a country of under 25 million, compared to 3000 or so for a country of 300 million, I'd say the comparison is about right.

    Now add millitary casualties that wouldn't have happenned without this warmongery. Hell, you might as well add in the US and British "Friendly Fire" casualties while you're at it.

  • In other news (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RelliK ( 4466 ) on Friday March 28, 2003 @12:04AM (#5612537)
    Before the US military even finished bombing Iraq, the contracts for rebuilding Iraq's infrastructure have already been awarded to US corporations. Among those corporations is Haliburton, where vice president Dick Cheney served as CEO. He is still on Haliburton's payroll and still owns 8 million of Haliburton's stock options.

    The more damage US military does to Iraq's infrastructure, the more money will US corporations make on rebuilding. US government is planning to use Iraqi oil to pay for this enterprise.

  • Re:Makes sense (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Pseudonym ( 62607 ) on Friday March 28, 2003 @12:06AM (#5612550)

    Two points.

    First, surely the primary goal is to pick products which benefit the people of Iraq? Otherwise what's the point of rebuilding the country?

    Secondly, as the article from The Register [] points out, a lot of US companies (e.g. Lucent, Motorola) make GSM equipment. Why choose one US company over another? Is it the faux anti-French lunacy which is going around at the moment? Or, perhaps, the campaign contributions [] from Qualcomm?

    Hard to say.

  • Re:My thoughts (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Twirlip of the Mists ( 615030 ) <> on Friday March 28, 2003 @12:08AM (#5612562)
    Seriously, GSM phones are the local standard, and any attempt by the Americans to impose CSMA is nothing short than continued imperialism.

    Oh, come off the high horse for just a minute and think rationally.

    Here's a country with no effective mobile phone system. It needs a new one, and one's going to be put in place over the next few years. If you're a mobile phone company executive who is not slavering over this opportunity, you're not doing your job.

    The Congressman's proposal is a perfectly valid one: here's an opportunity that has arisen (more accurately, that will arise) as a result of the war. Let's give American companies first swing at it.

    Whether this proposal will ultimately be a good idea or not is up to the various House committees to decide.
  • by fussman ( 607784 ) on Friday March 28, 2003 @12:38AM (#5612754) Journal
    Your Dubya made the US lose all the respect most of the world had for it, vote for a real leader next time.

    No, Clinton did that, and I did vote for a real leader, and he almost didn't get voted in because of a sore loser named Lieberman and a bigger sore loser name Gore. Both of these sore losers used the preconception that old people are feeble and don't vote correctly, and used the state of Florida (which is full of old people). Swallow that Mr. Moore. Respect is something European countries never got the concept of anyway (Zeig Heil anyone?). I sure hope Europe will get a grasp on the value of morality, rather than the pseudo-morality that has been bred into them since the dark ages.

  • by uradu ( 10768 ) on Friday March 28, 2003 @12:39AM (#5612766)
    > I'd like to be able to use the phone I have now and just get subscription or roaming

    Keep hoping, because CDMA networks are not set up for GMS-style portable accounts, and they don't use SIM cards. Yes, CDMA2000 has some more features (though it's NOT broadband, even though they like calling it 3G it's really only 2.5G like GPRS), but it bloody well should, considering how much newer it is. You can do a lot more signal processing in cheap silicon nowadays than back when GSM was designed in the 80s, and CDMA does require a lot more horsepower. If GSM were being designed today, it would most likely end up very similar to CDMA. What is fascinating is how well GSM has really kept up. They were years ahead of CDMA with GPRS and packet-based billing.

    The most important thing though is that GSM has become a global standard, a truly world-wide cell phone system. Your argument reminds me of the Token Ring vs. Ethernet wars, which in many respects are very similar to the CDMA vs. GSM "war" (it's no war really, since Qualcomm's CDMA hasn't got a prayer outside the US). Token Ring might have been superior at the time, but it was Ethernet that everyone was buying. A network's or cell phone's usefulness is directly proportional to the number of machines or people it connects you to. In that respect GSM is king and nothing will change that for a long time.
  • by dfenstrate ( 202098 ) <> on Friday March 28, 2003 @12:50AM (#5612843)
    helicopters provided by the United States, spraying gas provided by the United States, ordered by a dictator who was placed into power by the United States.

    Even if this was completely true- it isn't- This is just even more justification to persecute the war- shouldn't we clean up our own mistakes?
  • by Radical Rad ( 138892 ) on Friday March 28, 2003 @12:52AM (#5612850) Homepage
    If you don't know who Congressman Darrell Issa (R.-Calif.) is, a search turned up this link: [] which explains among other things that
    • His district is along the coast between Los Angeles and San Diego where QUALCOMM is based.
    • He serves on a House subcommittee that deals with Middle Eastern affairs.
    • Jewish terrorists tried to blow up his offices soon after the September 11th attacks.
  • by lee7guy ( 659916 ) on Friday March 28, 2003 @12:56AM (#5612872)
    Zeig heil??? Fucking moron.

    If the French hadn't helpt out your puny revolution, US would still be a British colony. Which, thinking of it, would have been just as well, anyway.

    A nation of misfits, rejected from the civilized countries now trying to rule the world.

    But never mind, your society is going straight to hell anyway.


    Crime rates.
    Social security.
    Inability to handle international affairs.

    I could add a few more, but that ends the lesson for today.
  • by EQ ( 28372 ) on Friday March 28, 2003 @01:03AM (#5612915) Homepage Journal
    GSM? WHICH GSM? Africa, US or European frequency?

    GSM not as universal as most think.

    CDMA is head and shoulders above - look at where the highspeed wireless is going - CDMA, not GSM. Plus CDMA is more efficient in its bandwidth usage than GSM. Remember GSM is still TDMA at its roots. So CDMA has better spectral efficiency.

    Example: GSM provides 8 slots in a channel 200 kHz wide, while IS-136 provides 3 slots in a channel only 30 kHz wide. GSM therefore consumes 25 kHz per user, while IS-136 consumes only 10 kHz per user.

    Plus you should take into account the terrain and desnity - Iraq probably is not all that population dense outside of Baghdad and Basra. CDMA really comes into its element when you are out in the countryside with few sites covering large expanses of land. Under these conditions CDMA provides extremely stable audio with few frame errors to mess things up. This is because Channel Pollution is almost non-existent in these situations. Under similar conditions TDMA suffers too readily from interference and it will often blank the audio. Many people who use CDMA systems in sparsely populated areas have given this technology extremely high marks.

    Nex you should look at GPRS versus CDMA2000/1xRTT, and the costs to upgrade from these technologies to genuine 3G communications. Without going into the specifics, CDMA holds a slight advantage here as well.

    So despite the obvious political motivations behind this decision, technologically speaking, it s actually a good decision to favor CDMA.

  • Re:In other news (Score:5, Interesting)

    by loucura! ( 247834 ) on Friday March 28, 2003 @01:10AM (#5612951)
    He still maintains options, and is paid yearly no matter the financial state of the company.
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Friday March 28, 2003 @01:38AM (#5613132) Homepage
    Most countries that go into wars expect to win. In the event, half of them are wrong.

    There are many ways the US can lose this. For example:

    • Iraq succeeds in cutting the supply line to the spearhead approaching Baghdad, they run out of fuel and ammo, and surrender or die in place. That's a classic.
    • US troops get bogged down, the war drags on with high body counts, and US public opinion demands a pullout.
    • Other Arab countries join with Iraq, either militarily or in the form of an oil embargo.
    • Iraq really does have weapons of mass destruction and uses them.
    • North Korea makes their move on S. Korea and US troops have to be pulled out and moved to that theater.
    None of these scenarios are likely, but it's quite possible for the Administration to bungle its way into one or more of them. Quite a few US war plans have failed in this war. "Decapitation" didn't work, "Shock and Awe" didn't work, "Blitz to Baghdad" didn't work, and "Basra Revolt" didn't work. That's just the first week. Not a good record.

    Historically, when an initial attack is far less successful than anticipated but isn't a total failure, the result is a long, bloody campaign. In a long campaign, the scenarios above become more likely.

    Yet a Congressman is worrying about the cell phone industry in postwar Iraq. That's sick.

  • by austus ( 199520 ) <> on Friday March 28, 2003 @02:03AM (#5613292) Homepage
    "Have you ever read the USA-PATRIOT act? Be honest, now. Have you ever read it, or have you just read a couple of op-eds about it and formed an opinion based on them?"

    As a matter of fact, I've had a good look at the patriot act. Couldn't make heads nor tails of it. But I trust the Electonic Frontier Foundation's analysis of it.

    "For what? We don't try people for war crimes just because we don't like them, you know. (Well, the people who wrote the Rome Treaty would disagree with this statement, but that's neither here nor there.)"

    For violating international law. Nothing in UN resolution 1441 specifies that a massive attack and invasion is authorized. Speaking of reading things. Why don't you read the UN charter? Now that's something I am able to understand. US is a member of the United Nations. When the world said NO to war, Bush should have listened. Now he's going to take the fall like Blair. For getting the US into Vietnam II, hell yes Bush will be fessed up for a Hague trial. And if you weren't suckled onto the teet of mainstream news outlets, you'd realize the world is overwhelmingly against this war. Even Britain's people. I'm not joking when I say they're thinking about trying Blair like a war criminal. Here's the link:,3858,4634 19 8,00.html
  • Re:Bull... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by uncadonna ( 85026 ) <> on Friday March 28, 2003 @02:44AM (#5613475) Homepage Journal
    This war, including the postwar reconstruction, is probably going to cost us around 200 billion dollars, and that doesn't count the cost of the munitions we're using. ... Two hundred billion dollars plus would have bought us practically all the Iraqi oil we could have hauled off. Why didn't we just buy it, and save everybody a lot of time, money, and trouble?

    Hmm, well, that's about $700 per capita per American, so it adds up to a couple of months of energy supply. Iraq has, what 15 % of the world's proven oil reserves? (I heard it was second only to Saudi.) Just because $200 Bn is a big number doesn't prove it is a bigger number than the value of the oil reserves. Which it clearly isn't.

    If you want more evidence, consder that the charming optimists running this fiasco are claiming that everything after the first $75 billion are going to be paid for by the oil. Let's not dwell on the fact that the first $75 billion comes out of the US taxpayer's pocket, into Hughes', Raytheon's, etc. The point is that Rumsfeld just said that the intention is to sell as much of the oil as needed to pay for the reconstruction.

    Let me repeat this for emphasis. The publicly stated plan is that once Iraq is invaded and successfully captured, er, liberated, its oil is to be extracted and sold with the profits used to pay for large-scale industrial projects that, apparently, US firms will be contracting for almost exclusively.

    Essentially, this is like if you owned, say, a grocery, and you bonked a rich guy on the head with a baseball bat, rendered him incompetent, obtained legal guardianship of him, and used that guardianship to spend his entire wealth on your grocery's surplus cabbage. Oh yeah, while you're at it he might as well pay for the baseball bat too.

    The administration is probably capable of convincing itself, and through its tame press convincing much of the public, that this amounts to a clever way to fund a genuinely benign act of liberation.

    There sure are a lot of convenient side effects if it all goes according to plan, though. These side effects which notably don't apply to North Korea, another place with a cruel dictator, an actual, verified ongoing WMD program, and violations of treaties. So if the difference isn't oil, what high moral principle do you suppose is at work?

  • by 10Ghz ( 453478 ) on Friday March 28, 2003 @03:30AM (#5613638)
    Of course, they claim to have destroyed dozens of our tanks, too, so we know their claims are far from perfect.

    How come? I mean, so far things have been going something like this:

    Iraq: We shot down an Apache gunship!
    US: Nope, we haven't lost any helicopters
    Iraq: Well, here is a video-clip of that downed Apache
    US: Uhhhhh, yeah we did lose a helicopter

    Iraq: Our forces are still fighting in Umm Qasr
    US: Nope, Umm Qasr is secure
    Journalists: From what I saw, there's still fierce fighting going on there
    US: OK, OK. We are still fighting in Umm Qasr

    To me it seems that the Coalition denies or plays down any casualties or problems they face, untill they are proven to be wrong one way or the other. So when Iraq says they have destroyed dozen Abrams (we do know for sure that US has lost several tanks) and US denies it, I wouldn't take the word of US as gospel (I wouldn't take the word of Iraq as gospel either).
  • by filipvh ( 193450 ) on Friday March 28, 2003 @04:30AM (#5613827)
    Shouldn't the Iraqis get to decide on how their country gets rebuilt, and what technologies get implemented? They are, after all, supposed to be "liberated" when this war is over!

    Furthermore, given that the US and UK invaded a sovereign country, they should foot the bill for the reconstruction, but (here's the kicker) they should be forced to use Iraqi contractors! Why should contractors in the foreign invaders' economy get to benefit?

    Ultimately, this looks like it's going to be another "liberated on our terms" deal where the only people who really benefit are first world countries...

  • Re:hah! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by lingqi ( 577227 ) on Friday March 28, 2003 @05:00AM (#5613929) Journal
    saving from saddam's evil?

    As other posts will tell, `91 desert storm killed about as many civilians as during the 10 year saddam was at the helm - most of them due to destroyed hospitals and the like, and was consequentially children. saving civilians is bullshit. War does not save people, war kills people.

    I love how everybody takes Japan as an example, but forget that Germany is about as much socialist as capitalist, if not more so toward the socialism side. Heck, half of europe is like that! Democracy and communism / socialism are not incongruent terms. confusing them does not bring credibility to arguments based on "installing a 'better' government."

    This is not planning - this is drooling over the piece of fat meat that is iraq and deciding how to pump it for oil/money. If "rid of evil" is what the government is after, then Africa (dictators galore) / Saudi (terrorists galore) / N.Korea (proven nuclear program that he has threatened to USE?) would be on the top of the list.

    The war should not have been started because it's for the wrong reasons. To me, anyway, the real reasons are beginning to manefest themselves more and more. You may think I am biased, but that goes both ways.

    Another example is Richard Perle and what he stands to gain from this war. I mean, it just seem that most decision making people that's really adament about this war has a lot to get out of it - Bush his oil, Perle his military supplies, and here we have Qualcomm wanting a piece. I don't think this is coincidence.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 28, 2003 @05:38AM (#5614048)
    Other Arab countries join with Iraq, either militarily or in the form of an oil embargo.

    Since Iran is next on the "Axis of Evil" list and from what I heard, Congress's already seen a proposal to "regime change" them next, Iran would have a strong cause to attack the U.S. troops in the gulf region in a preemptive defensive strike. And doing so would be perfectly legal by the standards the US has established lately. Imagine the fun the C.o.W forces would have if they were suddenly fighting against two countries, one of which was not under embargo for the last ten years.

  • by vidarh ( 309115 ) <> on Friday March 28, 2003 @05:45AM (#5614073) Homepage Journal
    GSM not as universal as most think.

    Tell that to my 3 year old tri-band phone . Almost wherever I go (including most larger US cities) the first thing I do when I step of the plane is turn on my cellphone. And most of the time it'll pick up a provider that I can roam with immediately. It's so much more convenient than being without a cellphone or having to resort to renting one at ridiculous rates.

    Whatever technological advantages you might think of, there are a couple of huge advantages with GSM: There's a much larger production volume for GSM handsets (face it, Europe tend to get the newest handsets before the US, and we have a much wider selection), and with a decent handset you'd be able to use it in practically any country in the world (including other countries in the region).

    Considering the deployment of GSM it is clear that GSM is good enough, and that technical considerations therefore should be a secondary issue for most people considering building out a network - cost and convenience for the users should be much more important as that is what will drive sales.

    That said, I think the important part of this is the idea that the idead that the US should have any say whatsoever over what Iraq does when "liberated" is disgusting. The US lost all legitimacy when it violated the UN charter and attacked a sovereign nation, and any hope for the US in getting any sort of credibility back will be lost if there's even the slightest little hint of US colonialism after the war.

  • by JaJ_D ( 652372 ) on Friday March 28, 2003 @07:04AM (#5614305)
    The Congressman's proposal is a perfectly valid one: here's an opportunity that has arisen (more accurately, that will arise) as a result of the war. Let's give American companies first swing at it.

    Its comments like these that make some Europeans and people from other parts of the world believe that the main reason the War in Iraq is currently going on is some Americans can make more money.

    Nice to see "we" (as in the world) are removing a dictator, who tells his people what they do and what they use from power just so we can replace it with another form of dictatorship from the US.

    This war is, according to the US/UK, about freedoms and liberties and the rights of the Iraqi people to make choices for themselves. Some parts of the US appears to be missing this - by removing the rights of the Iraqis to make choices for themselves after the war has finished. The US will tell them who rebuilds their country and how to do it and how much it will cost. One form of dictatorship swapped for another.

    But hey what do I know - nobody asks me about my opinion.
  • by spRed ( 28066 ) on Friday March 28, 2003 @08:39AM (#5614548)
    There has been shown war crimes on the Bittish and US sides, aswell, e.g. bombing of civilians, shooting at soldiers who has given up (white flag), etc.

    Stop watching Al-Jazeera. Briefly, there are enough American and European media outlets that hate the war that if the colatition was doing anything fishy there would be massive coverage. The best amnesty international could do is bitch about taking out a TV station. War crimes []. And Amnesty hates the US, they give four times as much space to the TV station as they do to Baathists killing civilians and false flags of surrender.

    Killing civilians is not illegal, intentionally killing civilians is. By the Iraqi goverments count less than two hundred civilians have died. That is one for what, every hundred bombs? There has never been a more careful war in history.

    As far as showing Iraqi POWs on TV, there have been a few shots of Iraqis while surrendering, eg live TV coverage of combat. Generally with their faces too small or grainy to see. This is vastly different than a dog and pony show of POWS put on by the goverment. Or government footage of executed POWs.

    You can be against the war or hate the coaltion and its members. To pretend the two sides are fighting the war equally dirty is farcical.
  • Re:asshole (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 28, 2003 @11:45AM (#5615721)
    If anyone understood American culture they would know - we don't care. Part of our cultural myth is the "lone ranger." The guy fighting for good in the face of overwhelming evil. Alone. Laugh if you will but this is part of who we are. If you understand this, the way we act makes more sense.

    So this criticism you heap on us hardly has the desired effect. If anything it makes us more resolute.

    Have a nice day.
  • by seney ( 244786 ) on Friday March 28, 2003 @12:02PM (#5615870) Homepage
    - US War Crimes During the Gulf War []

    - Declassified documents point to US war crimes in Iraq []

    u.s. treatment of "enemy combatants" has been extremely questionable. the spirit of the geneva convention leans towards the prisoners - who are the most vulnerable. the u.s. likes to think just because they are "enemy combatants" and not prisoners of war that they can treat them entirely different. well - they're still people.

    Afghan prisoners beaten to death at US military interrogation base []

  • Re:GSM is not French (Score:3, Interesting)

    by praksys ( 246544 ) on Friday March 28, 2003 @12:11PM (#5615968)
    >So "french" is now a race?

    You had better try asking some French people - you will soon find out that they do not, in any way, regard being "French" as a matter of having a certain ancestry. Not suprising really, given that the current inhabitants of France do not share a common ancestry, and in so far as that might have been true in the past is was an ancestry that was shared with Britan, Germany, and a bunch of other European nations.

    international law does not mandate installing a government that likes the USA rather than an elected one

    If you are talking about the long term then you are right, but of course the bulk of the reconstruction effort will be carried out in the short term, so this is strictly irrelevant to the question of how reconstruction should be carried out. In the short term international law *does* require the US to establish effective government in Iraq as quickly as possible.

    International law also makes no mention of what sort of government ought to be established in Iraq - and it certainly does *not* require democratic government. Perhaps you have not noticed the number of undemocratic regimes represented in the United Nations? Perhaps you have not noticed how many of them are opposed to the establishment of democratic government in Iraq?

    In any case the US has made it clear that their aim is to establish democracy in Iraq. That is the reason why so many members of the UN were opposed to US military action. The idea of Democracy spreading in the middle east scares the hell out of them.

What this country needs is a good five cent ANYTHING!