Chinese infrastructure and handset firm ZTE has become the first to demonstrate CDMA2000 1x Advanced, an upgrade to the aging CDMA technology that’s used by relatively few operators around the world; at least compared to GSM. What CDMA2000 1x Advanced enables is a better use of one of the most expensive resources on the planet: spectrum. Operators pay an arm and a leg for the airwaves they use to broadcast their signals. It was only 2 short years ago that Verizon won the 700 MHz spectrum auction with a bid of $4.7 billion. This new technology enables operators to handle 4 times the amount of voice traffic that currently flows across their network, while retaining the exact same audio quality. Best of all is the upgrade is relatively cheap and easy to perform, and current handsets don’t need to be replaced.
The video above, although made by Qualcomm, explains in plain English what this new technology enables and just how much capacity is gained depending on the upgrade route operators choose to take. Now forget about voice for a second, there’s also data. If say Verizon wants to increase the capacity of their EV-DO network, then they can do that and leave voice coverage and capacity alone. They’ll soon be upgrading to LTE anyway and in 2 years will have the same coverage map with LTE that they do with EV-DO, but what about operators like Sprint, who don’t have money to burn, and need to squeeze every last bit out of there network?
As I’ve said in previous articles, thanks to smartphones and other data hungry devices, operators all around the world are upgrading their networks and in the end … we win. Better coverage, better speed, lower latency, this is what fresh infrastructure equipment is all about. The growth period is a little painful, iPhone users on AT&T’s network in 2007 and 2008 can attest to that, but it’ll all be over soon.