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Rate control is an important way to allocate radio resources when a packet data service is introduced in the CDMA cellular network. It can compensate some shortcomings when the system just uses power control and can improve the system capacity. In this paper, we focus on analysis of the CDMA system capacity when using the rate control method. We do a theoretical analysis and computer simulations on this issue. We give an expression of the mean inter-cell interference normalized by one cell's throughput and discuss some factors influencing it. We also test the rate control method in a WCDMA-based packet data system, where we introduce a rate adaptation method to implement rate control procedure. From the simulation result, we prove that the system capacity can be improved obviously by using rate adaptation.