Congressman angers GSM Association
The GSM Association responded with anger to Californian Congressman Darrell Issa’s letter to United States Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld suggesting that GSM is an inferior technology to CDMA and should be deployed in post-war Iraq for wireless phone use.
Rob Conway, CEO of the GSM Association, wrote: “Congressman Issa’s intervention that GSM is an ‘outdated French standard’ is as ill-timed as it is misinformed.
“The right time to debate the technology will be when the real conflict is over. And at that time we should look at the real facts, not the Congressman’s ill-advised opinion. To suggest that GSM is simply a European or French standard is, in the current climate, quite outrageous.”
GSM stands for Global System for Mobile Communications and its users can roam much of the world using the same phone with the same number.
The association says that GSM is used by almost one billion consumers on every continent of the world, with 550 operators across 193 countries.
The association said GSM is a worldwide standard accounting for 72 percent of the digital wireless market today. GSM is an open standard, which means any manufacturer from any country can make GSM equipment on a “level playing field” — including North American companies such as Motorola, Lucent and Nortel.
Global manufacturers supporting this open standard include Samsung, Panasonic, NEC, Toshiba, Nokia, Ericsson, Mitsubishi, Siemens and many more, said Conway.
Major network operators in the USA offer GSM services such as AT&T Wireless, Cingular Wireless, T-Mobile USA.
In Canada it is provided by Microcell.
GSM is already deployed in every country in the Arab World — CDMA is not deployed in any, according to Conway. GSM was installed in Afghanistan post-war by an American company — TSI of New York — after a competitive process, Conway said.
More than 20 Arab countries have GSM networks and 60 million customers in the region, Conway said.
Iraq, of course, has been under United Nations economic sanctions since the first Gulf War and its refusal to disarm itself of weapons of mass destruction.
Because of the sanctions, Iraq is unable to purchase GSM technology.
Conway says the suggestion that CDMA technology be deployed in Iraq post war is completely at odds with the rest of the region and the majority of the world.
“It would add to the country’s isolation and arguably be at odds with the overall war effort,” he wrote.
Conway wrote, “I can’t believe someone has started this debate at this time, and I certainly can’t believe it has been started from such a false position and on such nationalistic terms.”