If you needed any final proof the cellular technology wars are over, the CDMA Development Group provided it this week. It has officially joined the 3rd Generation Partnership Project, the central standards body for the GSM community, as a market representation partner. Its job is to help with the transition of CDMA operators to long-term evolution networks.
The partnership was bound to happen, given that most of the CDMA world is moving to LTE for 4G, but the match still sounds strange, considering the CDG’s role as the champion of CDMA technologies around the world and its tight relationship with the 3GPP2, the 3GPP’s CDMA counterpart. Don’t expect the CDG to start saying nice things about GSM and UMTS technologies, though (except to point out that CDMA is the key modulation scheme in GSM’s 3G standard). Its role within the organization seems clearly focused on where the CDMA and GSM operators converge, on LTE, not in previous generations of technology.
The CDG will sit alongside 3G Americas as a 3GPP market representation partner, but their spheres of influence are clearly delineated. While 3G Americas represents the interests of GSM operators in North and South America, the CDG will represent CDMA operators globally.
The CDG and 3GPP tie-up wasn’t the only odd pairing this week. Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOMM) announced its innovation center would become a member of the Symbian Foundation, and a Qualcomm representative will sit on its board of directors. Qualcomm has an obvious interest in participating in Symbian’s smartphone ecosystem, and Symbian is certain to welcome the input of one of the world’s dominant makers of mobile broadband chips. Symbian, however, has always been Nokia’s baby, and Nokia and Qualcomm rarely see eye to eye. Earlier this year, Nokia bought up the remaining ownership stakes in Symbian and spun it off as an independent organization tasked with making Symbian an open-source operating system.