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Third-generation mobile radio networks, often dubbed as 3G, have been under intense research and discussion recently and will emerge around the year 2000. In the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), third generation networks are called International Mobile Telecommunications-2000 (IMT-2000), and in Europe, Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS). IMT-2000 will provide a multitude of services, especially multimedia and high-bit-rate packet data. Wideband code division multiple access (CDMA) has emerged as the mainstream air interface solution for the third-generation networks. In Europe, Japan, Korea, and the United States, wideband CDMA systems are currently being standarized. This article provides a comprehensive introduction to wideband CDMA. It also provides a review of the wideband CDMA air interface proposals including WCDMA in Europe and Japan, cdma2000 in the United States, and wideband CDMA in Korea.