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By DaveMock
October 3, 2002

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However, Nokia hasn't been able to do it and, instead of being honest, puts spins on its failures that border on ludicrous.

No one seemed to be able to make GSM work in the early 1990s either. Good thing they gave up on that worthless technology and turned it over to someone who really knew what they were doing.

Ok, jabs aside, there seems to be a lot of misconception in this area. However, it is unfair to lump everyone under an umbrella as "QCOM lover" and "NOK lover". To be sure, some people fit pdxmike's description to a T, but not all (I believe anyway). There's also others that think NOK can do no wrong, but not all. For the record, I'm actually long QCOM and have no current position in NOK. That may surprise some people as I often defend the current "GSM cabal" or supposed "irrationality" of the global wireless biz against QCOM. But I think people can have good reasons to own both.

First, QCOM and NOK don't compete. One is a tech. supplier and one is a product manufacturer. QCOMs success DOES depend on NOK and other manufacturers success (like Samsung). One problem is that many people think the tail should wag the dog - the technology supplier should dictate what the manufacturer makes and ships to customers. Whether you like it or not, NOK ultimately decides what's best for the customer. And yes, there ARE valid business reasons why NOK produces what it does and only offer lackluster support for IS/95x today. And these business reasons are validated - NOK is a very profitable, successful company.

Also - we have consistently found it interesting that whenever Q issues opinions such as WCDMA won't work until 2004-5, as it said in 2001, it is attached viciously in the press by Nokia when, if fact, the pronouncements have, without material exception, proven correct.

I guess you have to define "work" without ambiguity. WCDMA does function. DoCoMo, NOK and others have done it - end of story. Is it commercially viable - heck no! Who in the world would put up for that kind of poor performance! Dropouts, minimal coverage, hot batteries, sky-high rates...nowhere near commercial viability. Can someone claim WCDMA works today? Yes! Can someone claim WCDMA won't work for another 3-5 years? Yes!

Again, making Nokia solely responsible for the commercial success and quick, worldwide adoption of WCDMA is ridiculous. It's out of their control. The only control they have is to make the products work. They are definitely at the immature stage of making products work but their progress (or lack of) does not stop an entire industry. If there truly were enough market demand for 3G (WCDMA style) someone else would step up ahead and attempt to do it faster.

There also seems to be the perception that these two companies, single-handedly carry the wireless industry on their back. While QCOM does have tremendous influence on CDMA, they are not a dictator and they can not ignore that S. Korean carriers have played a large role in their success. NOK has even less power to guide the market. Both are at the mercy of carriers and ultimately the consumer/business market on a global scale. NOK is more reactionary to the market as they are the supplier (why not make what people want?). QCOM lobbies harder for their core competency because it brings more business to them. Believe me, NOK will bend whichever way the wind blows. By the end of the decade, they better have just as much experience building xCDMA phones as they do GSM phones today.

I personally don't consider WCDMA and 1x comparable. To say 1x is "beating" WCDMA in subs and commercial success is dumb - just spin to promote 1x. All the marketing, hype and propaganda from both sides is not surprising and expected - its a tough market and everyone wants to continue growing and succeeding.

But the last half of the decade is where big moves will be made. Right now we're just in a building phase of this market. It really is a lot like the last generation - the first 5 years+ saw a lot of wrangling with tech. and systems. The last half of the decade is where things took off. It's nice to be excited if your horse has an early lead in the race, but the home stretch is where the winners come through.


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