CDMA Network Could Close Next Year
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The no profitable Hutchison Telecoms CDMA will be shut down next year according to insiders.

Hutchison Telecoms will shut down its CDMA network in August this year, potentially leaving thousands of customers in Newcastle, Wollongong and Sydney’s Central Coast without a Hutchison mobile phone service, as the alternative 3G network does not cover those regions. According to Hutchison, 200,000 CDMA customers have migrated from 2G to 3G services since February, out of the 380,000 CDMA customers Hutchison had on its books at the end of 2005.

According to a Hutchison spokesperson, the organisation is aiming to upgrade a total of 250,000 CDMA users. Those left over are likely to be CDMA pre-paid customers and residents living outside 3G access areas, such as the NSW Central Coast.

 Just keep that useless handset

Hutchison denied that the closure was a cost cutting exercise. “This is about giving people certainty about technology,” the spokesperson said.

A statement from Hutchison to the ASX yesterday said that the closure would allow it to “focus solely on delivering 3G services.” It would extend offers to remaining CDMA customers to upgrade to 3G, including waiving current handset instalments (very gracious of them, seeing the handsets will become useless – Ed.).

Telstra, which in 2004 agreed to pay Hutchison $450 million to secure 50 percent of its 3G infrastructure, is also shutting its CDMA network, as it switches to the new national HSDPA ‘Super 3GSM” net, but not until January 2008, according to an AAP report. Till then, it may well pick up a few CDMA customers from Hutchison. – Dorothy Kennedy