Multiuser receivers improve the performance of spread-spectrum and antenna-array systems by exploiting the structure of the multiaccess interference when demodulating the signal of a user. Much of the previous work on the performance analysis of multiuser receivers has focused on their ability to reject worst case interference. Their performance in a powercontrolled network and the resulting user capacity are less wellunderstood. In this paper, we show that in a large system with each user using random spreading sequences, the limiting interference effects under several linear multiuser receivers can be decoupled, such that each interférer can be ascribed a level of effective interference that it provides to the user to be demodulated. Applying these results to the uplink of a single power-controlled cell, we derive an effective bandwidth characterization of the user capacity: the signal-to-interference requirements of all the users can be met if and only if the sum of the effective bandwidths of the users is less than the total number of degrees of freedom in the system. The effective bandwidth of a user depends only on its own SIR requirement, and simple expressions are derived for three linear receivers: the conventional matched filter, the decorrelator, and the MMSE receiver. The effective bandwidths under the three receivers serve as a basis for performance comparison.