OREANDA-NEWS. On March 22, 2007 The CDMA Development Group (CDG) announced that CDMA2000(r) is witnessing substantial subscriber growth across South Asia, nearly doubling the subscriber base in the region from 23 million in 2005 to 45 million at the end of 2006, reported the press-centre of  CDMA Development Group. Twenty-six operators in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have selected CDMA2000 to offer affordable voice and broadband data access to users in urban as well as remote rural areas. CDMA2000 is the most widely deployed 3G technology in these markets and it enables operators to deliver universal telephone and Internet access, while differentiating their services with popular revenue-generating data services such as ring tones, email, daily info data casts and ethnic music downloads.

"The CDG is pleased to report CDMA's strong subscriber growth and expanding presence in South Asia," said Perry LaForge, executive director of the CDG. "More and more South Asian operators are recognizing that CDMA2000 is the best choice to bridge the digital divide in their region to provide advanced telecommunication services to millions of people while achieving a positive return on their investment". More than 1,6 billion people live in South Asia - about one-fifth of all the people in the world - but very few of them have access to telecommunications today. In Afghanistan, only 4,35% of the population has a telephone and 0,1% uses the Internet, according to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) survey. In India and Pakistan, the teledensity is slightly higher at over 11%, and 5-6% of the population has access to the Internet.

CDMA2000 has proven to be very well suited to address emerging markets needs; it offers improved network capacity to meet the growing demand for voice and high-speed broadband data services, including Internet access, at a lower cost with a better quality of service than 2G systems. CDMA2000 operator deployments and subscriber growth in South Asia have been accelerating. Twenty-six operators have commercial or soon to be commercial CDMA2000 1X networks and 7 of these operators are deploying 1xEV-DO systems to offer broadband Internet access. India is the largest and fastest growing market for CDMA2000 services in the region, with 6 operators and more than 47 million users at the end of February 2007. India is also now the second largest CDMA market in the world, behind the United States.

The availability of low-cost devices is a key requirement for the South Asia market. At least two suppliers are currently offering 3G CDMA2000 phones for less than $30 USD, and another five suppliers are offering handsets for less than $40. In total, there are more than ten CDMA2000 handset models offered by seven suppliers below $40. In 2007, another 30 ultra low-cost CDMA2000 mobile handset designs are expected to become commercially available from more than fifteen suppliers.