CDMA network fares much better than GSM network in HTTP download data rate performance in 7 out of 8 metros. GSM which is more ubiquitous than CDMA is behind in six data network performance metrics.
There are around 100 million CMDA subscribers and 300 million GSM subscribers. Every 1 in 4 mobile user is a CDMA subscriber. Reliance, Tata Indicom and MTS India (recent addition) are the only CDMA operators in India. Reliance and Tata are rolling out their GSM networks too.
How can we justify CDMA having more users than GSM when the former’s network is better?
Though CDMA technology has an edge over GSM in both Voice and Data network performance in India, only about 62 percent of new acquisitions (acquired in the last 6 months) among CDMA players are likely to consider their existing service provider as their next choice. More importantly a third of them (33%) are likely to consider a GSM brand as their first choice as according to the respondents it delivers better on both network and price. (Press release)
Though most of the respondents in the survey chose network and price as the 2 main reasons for picking up an operator, there is a lot of perception about GSM network (that it is much better than CDMA network).
The only other reason which I can think of other than perception is the handset. If you are on a GSM network you can just buy a new mobile or change to a different mobile and get along. Not the same case with CDMA. The handset is locked to the service provider and not a whole lot of choices are available. Though measures have been taken to improve this, handset availability might still be a contributing factor for GSM’s greater success.
Suggested Reading : Difference between GSM and CDMA.