Response from GSM Association to comments about the new mobile network on Iraq post-war
Posted on 4-Apr-2003 17:38
Filed under: News
Response to Californian Congressman Darrell Issa’s letter to the Honorable Donald Rumsfeld, US Secretary of Defence from Rob Conway, CEO of the GSM Association and Member of its Board.
“Congressman Issa’s intervention that GSM is an ‘outdated French standard’ is as ill-timed as it is misinformed.
The right time to debate the technology will be when the real conflict is over. And at that time we should look at the real facts, not the Congressman’s ill advised opinion. To suggest that GSM is simply a European or French standard is, in the current climate, quite outrageous.
GSM stands for ‘Global System for Mobile Communications’ and its users can roam throughout the world on the same phone with the same number.
GSM is used by almost one billion consumers and on every continent of the world, with 550 operators across 193 countries.
GSM is a worldwide standard accounting for 72 per cent of the digital wireless market today.
GSM is an ‘open standard’, which means any manufacturer from any country can make GSM equipment on a ‘level playing field’ – including North American companies such as Motorola, Lucent and Nortel. Global manufacturers supporting this open standard include Samsung, Panasonic, NEC, Toshiba, Nokia, Ericsson, Mitsubishi, Siemens and many more.
Major network operators in the USA offer GSM services such as AT&T Wireless, Cingular Wireless, T-Mobile USA and in Canada it is provided by Microcell.
GSM is already deployed in every country in the Arab World – CDMA is not deployed in any.
GSM was installed in Afghanistan post-war by an American company (TSI of New York) after a full tender process. Today, there are more than 20 Arab countries with GSM networks and 60 million customers in the region. Iraq, of course, has been under UN Sanctions and therefore has not been able to purchase GSM technology.
Therefore, the suggestion that CDMA technology be deployed in Iraq post war is completely at odds with the rest of the region and the majority of the world. It would add to the country's isolation and arguably be at odds with the overall war effort.
I can’t believe someone has started this debate at this time, and I certainly can’t believe it has been started from such a false position and on such nationalistic terms.”