U.S. Cellular Opts For CDMA By Kristy Bassuener December 19, 2001 Illustrating the latest pull in the wireless standards tug of war in the United States, carrier U.S. Cellular today announces that it will convert all its markets to CDMA technology and migrate to a CDMA2000 1x platform for its third-generation services. Currently, about one third of U.S. Cellular's markets use the CDMA standard. Migration of the other two thirds will begin early next year and wind up in 2004, the company says. Costs of switching the network will amount to roughly $400 million to $450 million over the next three years. 'After reviewing all other technologies currently available we remain convinced that CDMA is the right path for our customers.,' says Richard Goehring, executive vice president and chief technology officer. 'Our investment in CDMA will significantly increase network capacity, reduce future capital outlays and enable us to provide data capacity very quickly. We will continue to support TDMA technology for the foreseeable future and will evaluate the use of GSM on a case-by-case basis to ensure that U.S. Cellular can continue to best serve existing customers and roaming partners whenever possible.' The move helped boost U.S. Cellular's shares more than half a percentage point to $43.99 per share. The news follows Cingular Wireless' announcement that it will migrate to 3G speed using a GSM-EDGE platform. Many insiders speculated that Nextel Communications Inc. would switch its Motorola-made iDEN network to CDMA for 3G ease, but earlier this year the company announced it would stick with iDEN. The move puts U.S. Cellular in the CDMA ring with carriers including Sprint PCS, Verizon Wireless and Leap Wireless International Inc.