Friday, August 7, 2009
In traditionally GSM markets like India phone users are reluctant to take up CDMA service since it meant that they are restricted to their career in terms of handset choice. CDMA providers. CDMA Development Group (CDG) has taken an initiative over the past year actively to change this scenario with the Open Market Handset. In short, this initiative is to allow buyers of CDMA phones buy the handsets without worrying about which carrier to choose. You can buy any CDMA phone from the retailers and use it with any carrier of your choice. You do not have to stick with the limited choice that used to be the case if you have to choose your carrier first. CDG has chosen the Indian market to pilot this initiative and has done well in the choice.
If the Open Market Handset initiate gets going in India, it could well be a success anywhere since India is a market where GSM is well-entrenched. India has reached a milestone of 100 million CDMA subscribers and it is just as well that these subscribers finally get the choice they deserve. Handset vendors will also be greatly relieved from having to factor in the carriers at quite an early stage in their development.
Technically, the gizmo which enables this is called the R-UIM, which is the analog of GSM's SIM. When I first encountered the SIM-less handsets of CDMA, initially I was struck by the unimaginative idea of the whole thing, and later on probing came to understand that the vested interest of the carriers was blocking a simple function for the users. Now with mobile number portability (MNP) on the anvil and GSM bloc trying to run away with 3G, CDG has done well to provide the original choice of GSM subscribers to the CDMA lot. All's well that sells well is the golden rule by which this CDG plan of putting more choice in the hands of users will be measured.