In a period where investors are looking for some excitement to kick-start the next bull run, wireless stalwart Nokia (NYSE:NOK) dropped a mixed bag of Finnish financials on the market last week, announcing third-quarter earnings largely in line with expectations. Revenue -- in line (yawn). Earnings -- marginal drop of 2% (yawn). CDMA market share -- doubled (yawn... snort snort! Wait! Say again?).

Nokia doubled its share of CDMA handset sales in the global market. Some were unfazed because of the basis -- Nokia only claimed a single-digit share of the market one year ago. But claiming market share of CDMA handsets in the mid-teens is an important milestone for Nokia. Ignoring this statistic due to its dominance in the GSM space may be justified in the short term. But overlooking this event is a long-term blunder because of the small fact that -- oh, by the way -- CDMA is the future of all mobile communications.

Nokia's past performance in CDMA has been far from stellar. One of the first licensees of Qualcomm's (NASDAQ:QCOM) CDMA technology, Nokia has worked with the technology from the beginning. But the company has never put serious development dollars behind it until the last few years, favoring instead to capitalize on the dominant GSM, where it holds over 50% of the market for mobile phones.

Nokia's setbacks in CDMA stemmed from flaws in CDMA chipsets and software they developed in-house rather than buying from Qualcomm. Due to the delivery of poorly performing CDMA phones in the late 1990s, the two major CDMA operators in the U.S. -- Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) and Sprint PCS (NYSE:PCS) -- have had rocky relationships with Nokia. But patience and perseverance (and probably a few frozen vodkas) have helped Nokia woo both carriers back into their corner in a small but significant way with recent launches of CDMA 1x phones.

Nokia displaced cellular king Motorola (NYSE:MOT) in 1998, when the U.S. giant failed to invest in the future -- digital cellular phones. A similar misstep with CDMA could reverse roles or even let the next great handset challenger, Samsung, jump in to steal the top spot. Many agree that the only way for Nokia to reach its own goal of capturing greater than 40% of the global handset market is to master CDMA. At this point, it's exciting to see Nokia making good progress towards that goal.

Dave Mock is CDMA-challenged but hopes to get back to the future soon. He is the author of Tapping into Wireless, and welcomes your feedback at dave@davemock.com. Dave owns shares of Motorola.