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The effect of channel estimation error on the performance of the interleave-division multiple access (IDMA) systems are studied in this paper. For comparison, a channel estimation approach based on expectation maximization (EM) algorithm is also presented. The theoretic analysis and simulation results show that the variance of the channel estimation error affects the bit-error-rate (BER) performance of the IDMA system significantly when the estimation error is large. The analysis and simulation results also indicate that the channel estimation information based on EM algorithm can approach to the ideal channel state information (CSI) with increasing iterations. Therefore, the channel estimation can cooperate harmoniously with the signal detection due to the iterative operation. The analysis model and simulation results provide a reference for the practical system design.