In the first vote taken to establish what will be the next generation of mobile phone technology, ETSI, the European Telecommunications Standard Institute (ETSI), has voted to back the Wideband-CDMA backed by Nokia Oy and LM Ericsson AB and Japan’s NTT DoCoMo operator. The new technology, aimed at allowing fast digital transmission of multimedia, voice and data, was competing primarily against the hybrid- TDMA/CDMA proposal of Northern Telecom Ltd, Alcatel SA, Siemens AG, Italtel SpA, Bosch AG and Sony Europe. Meanwhile, Motorola Inc says it will back both technologies. In the test vote, the WCDMA technology won 58.45% in the test ballot against 41.55% for the hybrid- TDMA/CDMA proposal. Although the WCDMA won a simple majority it did not manage 71% of all the 2,000 potential votes that ETSI rules require for a proposal to be accepted as a new standard. Between now and January, the W-CDMA camp will work to convert wavering TD/CDMA votes, and to attract more of the 800 votes that were not cast in Madrid. According to Siemens, its proposal still had a good chance of winning although it had lost the early vote. Nineteen of the 141 full ETSI members abstained from the vote. ETSI is a grouping of regulators, equipment vendors and operators although covering Europe, its decision will be an important step towards selecting a single global standard for the third generation of mobile communications. The International Telecommunications Union (ITU), is expected to make its choice by the end of 1999 and it and other bodies will be influenced by ETSI’s decision. ETSI is due to make the final recommendation for the new European standard in January although this many be postponed should more it try to develop a compromise or at least concessions between the two designs. ETSI said it would decide on Friday whether a delay of the deadline might be necessary.
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