The Use of Standard Setting as a Means
of Facilitating Cartels
Third Generation Wireless
Telecommunications Standard Setting
by Peter Grindley, David J. Salant
and Leonard Waverman
paper describes the process by which the third
generation (3G) standards for wireless
telecommunications services are being defined.
The standard setting decisions will affect
equipment suppliers, telecommunications operators,
The development of telecommunications
standards is an arcane process.
Many different firms and organizations play
a role. Of
particular interest is the impact of standard
setting in facilitating cartels for 3G systems.
Mobile Telecommunications Services (UMTS) is often
referred to as a third generation (or 3G) standard.
Analogue cellular, or Analogue Mobile Phone
Systems (AMPS), is a first generation standard and
various forms of Personal Communications Services
digital standards are second generation, or 2G,
is no single global 2G standard, rather a set of
setting is a global activity, with many national,
regional and global organizations playing key
has coordinated on one digital 2G standard, the
“ ‘Global’ Standard for Mobile”
communications, (GSM), a time division multiple
access (TDMA) standard used in both the 800 MHz
and 1.8 GHz frequency bands.
The European Community (EC) is developing a
single 3G. However, this third generation
technology uses code division multiple access (CDMA)
originally developed by a US firm, Qualcomm, and
so will not be fully backward compatible with GSM.
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