From IEEE Milestones Wiki

EXPERT REVIEW by Dr Stephen B Weinstein (IEEE Fellow and Past President of IEEE Communication Society)

COMMENTS ON PROPOSED IEEE MILESTONE, ”Commercialization of CDMA Cellular Communication Systems, 1996”

The massive scale commercial deployment of IS-95 CDMA, made in Korea in 1996 as described in this Proposal, is worthy of recognition as an IEEE Milestone. This was an important industrial/operational achievement that helped convince the worldwide cellular mobile industry that CDMA was a viable contender as a cellular mobile standard. The Proposal provides interesting historical background on the resolution of several technical problems, such as AMPS/CDMA interworking, that Korean industry solved to make the deployment successful.

This proposed milestone recognizes a major development effort by Korean industry and the first substantial national deployment of a CDMA cellular system. It should not be interpreted as claiming the first experimental development of CDMA (for which there is already an IEEE Milestone [1]), the first field trial of CDMA, or even the first commercial deployment of CDMA, which sources such as [2] attribute to Hutchison Telecom in Hong Kong in December, 1995. The Proposal notes on page 6 that the Hutchison deployment was small and the Proposal’s reference 19 confirms this and further notes that the Hong Kong authorities declined in 2004 to renew Hutchinson’s license. Perhaps, in the interest of honesty and clarity, the Proposal could state, much earlier in the text, that the very large and successful CDMA commercial deployment in Korea began one month after initiation of a very small and unsuccessful CDMA deployment in Hong Kong. The title of the proposed milestone could possibly be modified to something like “Large-Scale Commercialization of a CDMA Cellular Communication System, 1996.”

The authors might consider clarifying the relationship of CDMA, an important contribution to the cellular mobile industry, to the competing TDMA digital cellular systems that eventually captured most of the markets, and the future of CDMA in 5G and 6G. Further, I suggest that sources (e.g., a URL where the referenced document can be found) be provided for those references that don’t already show a source.

In summary, the Proposal describes a remarkable academic-industrial-government cooperative effort along the route to the near-universal deployment of cellular mobile that we have today, and this achievement deserves to be recognized with an IEEE Milestone.


[1],_1989 [2]

Comments submitted Aug. 21, 2023 by Stephen Weinstein,