Angered over the antiwar positions of France and Germany, Representative Darrell Issa, a California Republican, has sent letters to U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the Pentagon, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and various legislators asking them to support rival CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) technology, pioneered by Qualcomm Inc., for a new Iraqi cell phone system. Qualcomm is based in
"We have learned that planners at the Department of Defense and USAID are currently envisioning using federal appropriations to deploy a European-based wireless technology known as GSM ... for this new Iraqi cellphone system," Issa wrote in a letter to Rumsfeld, published Wednesday on the lawmaker's Web site.
In the letter, Issa expresses concern that if GSM technology were chosen, much of the equipment could come from manufacturers in
Issa could not immediately be reached for comment.
Politics aside, the choice of a cell phone technology should be based on what's best for users in Iraq, according to Jason Chapman, a mobile infrastructure analyst at the London office of Gartner Inc. "And that's GSM technology," he said.
GSM has a huge footprint in the
Price is another issue. "GSM infrastructure equipment is cheaper because it's a bigger market and there are more companies providing equipment," Chapman said.
And that applies not only to infrastructure. "There are plenty of inexpensive low-function GSM handsets and there is also a market for refurbished handsets that have been returned to operators," he said. "This all adds up to savings for users, and that would be important to Iraqis."