Having literally sprung-up as a new cellular technology overnight, the popularity of CDMA450 is growing, according to In-Stat/MDR. The high-tech market research firm reports that, as a result, the number of CDMA450 subscribers will increase from approximately 1 mln by the end of 2004 to over 2.5 mln by 2009. Because of the lower propagation loss at 450 MHz, only one CDMA450 base station provides the same coverage of approximately 25 WCDMA base stations operating at 2.1 GHz. Deploying a CDMA450 network is roughly 30% cheaper than deploying a CDMA800 network and roughly two-thirds cheaper than deploying a CDMA1900 network.
CDMA450 does have disadvantages over other technologies. First, since the number of subscribers of CDMA450 is limited, so are the choices for handsets. In addition, CDMA450 handsets can’t roam to other GSM, WCDMA, and in most cases, other CDMA2000 networks outside of the 450 MHz band. This greatly limits roaming options for CDMA450 users. Currently there are 14 CDMA450 systems that are commercial, and there are several others that have run trials and/or are waiting for their CDMA450 license to be granted.