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WCDMA (or W-CDMA) stands for Wideband Code Division Multiple Access. WCDMA is direct spread technology, which means that it will spread its transmissions over a wide, 5MHz carrier. Hence the name W (wideband) CDMA. WCDMA is the leading 3G wireless standard in the world today. It was adopted as a standard by the ITU under the name "IMT-2000 direct spread." WCDMA is the technology used in the Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS), and with data rates up to 2Mbits it has the capacity to easily handle bandwidth-intensive applications such as video, data, and image transmission necessary for mobile internet services. Operators such as Vodafone, Singtel, AT&T and TIM have chosen WCDMA/UMTS as their 3G solution.

After slow growth for many years, it appears that 3G/WCDMA/UMTS is finally taking hold -- preliminary figures indicate that as 2005 closed, there were 44 million W-CDMA subscribers worldwide, an increase of 164% over the number registered at the end of 2004.

The articles, resources and links below will help you through the maze of alphabet soup and other jargon that surrounds this technology.

Contents of This Page

Reference Books on W-CDMA Available for Purchase

Click on a Title Below for a Direct Link to Purchase


Introduction to Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) (Paperback) , by Lawrence Harte . Paperback- 108 pages (August 2004).

NOTE: bad reviews on this book

WCDMA (UMTS) Deployment Handbook: Planning and Optimization Aspects , by Christophe Chevalier et al (Editors). Hardcover - 412 pages (September 29, 2006).


WCDMA: GPRS and 3G Wireless Applications: Professional Developer's Guide, by Christoffer Andersson. Paperback - 352 pages Bk&Cd-Rom edition (April 11, 2001).


UMTS Mobile Communications for the Future, by Flavio Muratore (Editor). Hardcover - 264 pages (January 16, 2001).


UMTS Networks: Architecture, Mobility and Services, by Heikki Kaaranen (Editor), Siamäk Naghian, Lauri Laitinen, Ari Ahtiainen, & Valtteri Niemi. Hardcover - 384 pages 1st edition (August 14, 2001).


The UMTS Network and Radio Access Technology: Air Interface Techniques for Future Mobile Systems, by Jonathan P. Castro. Hardcover - 384 pages 1 edition (April 4, 2001).

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WCDMA in the News

Daily News Headlines from!

Durable News

3G Finally Gaining Momentum: Report, January 24, 2006 article by John Walko, EE Times

EDGE is key to next five years, says TTPCom, January 25, 2006 article by Richard Wilson for ElectronicsWeekly.Com

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SSS Online Articles and Resources on W-CDMA

Wireless Glossary

CDMA Stuff Page

SSS Online's Technical Briefings Archive

SSS Online's .pdf File Archive

Unleashing the CDMA Advantage in WCDMA
- great article from Lucent Technologies.

Multilevel Simulation of WCDMA Systems for Third Generation Wireless Applications, by Dr. Kurt Matis. Thanks, ICUCOM/ Applied Wave Research, Inc.

ICUCOM's ACOLADE IS-95 CDMA Library Description
— good intro to IS-95 in the first few pages.

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Other WCDMA Online Resources

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Technical Standards on WCDMA

The Electronics Engineering Alliance (EIA) publishes a number of standards applicable to the electronics industry in general and W-CDMA in particular. Check them out for information on their standards development activities. For published standards, go to EIA's distributor, Global Engineering Documents. Electronic copies of many of the standards are available from IHS Engineering Products.

Standards of interest include:
  • ITU-R M Series P2, International Mobile Telecommunications - 2000 (IMT-2000)

  • ATIS/T1.715, CDMA DS & TDD Radio Interference Specifications (June 2000)

  • J-STD-015, W-CDMA Air Interface Compatibility Standard for 1.85 to 1.99 GHZ PCS Applications (Draft, December 1998).

  • TIA/EIA-95, Mobile Station-Base Station Compatibility Standard for Dual-Mode Wideband Spread Spectrum Cellular System (Edition B, March 1999). Developed by EIA's Engineering Department.

  • ATIS T1P1/97-020, Minimum Performance Requirements for W-CDMA Personal Stations (Edition 96, September 1996).

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