Cell Phones in Post-war Iraq

The U.S. and Britain are still blowing up Iraq, and already there’s a debate about what cell phone technology should be installed after the blowing up is over.

The debate is over whether CDMA — the predominant cell technology in the U.S. — or GSM — predominant in Europe — should be used.

The political “debate” goes like this, in the words of Congressman Darrell Issa (R.-Calif.):

If European GSM technology is deployed in Iraq, much of the equipment used to build the cell phone system would be manufactured in France, Germany, and elsewhere in western and northern Europe. Furthermore, royalties paid on the technology would flow to French and European sources, not U.S. patent holders,” Issa said in his letter to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and USAID Administrator, Ambassador Wendy Chamberlain.

Do you remember the old SCTV skit with Big Jim McBob and Billy Saul Hurok (John Candy and Joe Flaherty) blowing up famous people on their variety show — “blowed up good, blowed up real good” they would say. Is it conceivable that the U.S. and Britain have gone to war with Iraq to create market opportunities? Blow it up, build it back up. Real good.


Kevin's picture
Kevin on March 29, 2003 - 17:54 Permalink

The stench of “interests”! If there is any way to get the entire US to go GSM the world might have a fighting chance of fixing whatever economic crap results from GW’s mid-life crisis (couldn’t he have just gone back to coke?).

I find the US very “third worldish” compared to Europe visa vie cellular use.

The usability differences between xDMA and GSM are so significant that only the short-sighted and self-serving would dare roll dice against their reputation by advocating CDMA/TDMA.

Anyway, the good news is that many American entrepreneurs do realize GSM is superior and are deploying quite a bit of it in the US.