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We propose and analyze a simple adaptive uplink power control scheme, two-level channel inversion, for data traffic in a cellular CDMA system. The basic idea is to reduce out-cell interference by reducing the rate of, or even suspending, user transmission when the wireless channel is in a bad condition. We present a probabilistic analysis model and then evaluate the queueing delay and system throughput. Numerical results show that in comparison with the traditional channel inversion scheme, the two-level channel inversion scheme can substantially improve the system throughput at a moderate cost of extra queueing delay. Finally, we present a design algorithm to optimize the overall performance