An unusual announcement came through from the CDMA Development Group (CDG) Tuesday morning, claiming that CDMA operators will be among the first to roll out LTE and Mobile WiMAX.

Pitching a 4G strategy based on cooperation with other industry organisations is a dramatic turnaround for the CDG, whose conflicts with lobby groups for competing 2G and 3G mobile technologies were commonplace.

As reveals in a recent interview, Perry LaForge, chairman and executive director of the CDG, has had to move with the times-or, to be more precise, with the wishes of the CDG’s carrier membership.

CDG members, which comprise mobile operators using so-called ‘3GPP2’ networks (CDMA 1x and EV-DO), have opted either for LTE or WiMAX as their preferred path towards 4G. There is no meaningful support for UMB (Ultra Mobile Broadband), the 3GPP2 ‘evolution’ path set out by the CDG and the 3GPP2 standards body last year.

“3G is enabling new services that drive profitable wireless data business models, which will continue to be the foundation for operators even as OFDM-based technologies like LTE and Mobile WiMAX are deployed,” said LaForge, who believes that these new technologies will not replace 3G platforms until large economies of scale are built and mass market adoption criteria, such as ubiquitous coverage, affordable tariffs, global roaming and low-cost handset availability, are met. 

Anticipating that the majority of LTE and Mobile WiMAX networks will initially be deployed in highly populated metropolitan areas, LaForge maintains that 3G CDMA operators will rely on CDMA2000 to provide coverage and roaming in the surrounding areas and in international markets.

According to the CDG, there are now over 100 million subscribers using CDMA2000 1xEV-DO services offered by 123 operators in 62 countries. A total of 44 operators have also deployed 1xEV-DO Rev. A networks, and another 36 are in the process of deploying this technology.