Lucent, Nortel on Telecom NZ's CDMA Shortlist

Telecom New Zealand expects to make a decision by Christmas on the strategic partner for its new $NZ160 million ($US81.5 million) to $NZ200 million CDMA (code division multiple access) cellular network, according to spokesman Glen Sowry.

The short-listed partners are Lucent Technologies and Nortel Networks. Telecom is still in negotiation with them, Sowry says. The final price of the network will depend on the amount of risk accepted by the successful vendor.

Planned for commercial roll-out in the first half of 2001, the new network chosen is CdmaOne, the brand name adopted for networks complying with the IS-95 family of cellphone standards set by Qualcomm. It is the main technology backed by the CDMA Development Group and has 2.5 to three times the capacity of D-AMPS, while requiring fewer cell sites.

Had Telecom stayed with TDMA (time division multiple access), it would have needed 80 more cell sites. CDMA requires only 30 more.