3G Standards: The Battle between WCDMA and CDMA2000

Dan Saugstrup, Anders Henten

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Purpose – The main purpose of this paper is to analyze which standard/technology will win the 3G mobile markets. In addition, two sub topics are examined. First, which kind of victory will it be – will one technological solution be all-dominating or is co-existence more likely? Second, which are the most decisive factors in the battle between the different standards – which roles do respectively technology path-dependence, network effects and strategic concerns play?

Design/methodology/approach – The approach taken in the paper is to examine the different kinds of stakeholders – in this field, first and foremost, equipment manufacturers, network operators, policy makers/administrators and end users; to analyze how such stakeholders are intervening in the different relevant steps – technology development, technology deployment and technology take-up – and to analyze these issues from different angles – technology, markets and economy, policy and regulation, and other social aspects.

Findings – The paper concludes that WCDMA will dominate the markets, but that there will be a co-existence of different solutions – also inside individual countries where more than one solution is implemented.

Originality/value – The paper is based on the understanding that a vast array of different factors in a complex dynamic environment goes into the determination of the outcome of such standardization games. However, the battle between 3G standards has already reached a level, where relatively certain predictions can be made. And, the paper contributes with a methodologically based discussion concerning the outcome of the battle between 3G standards.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDigital Policy, Regulation and Governance
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)10-20
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • Stakeholder analysis
  • Standardization
  • Strategic alliances


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