You’re in for a lot of acronyms if you’re looking for a cell phone. It is vital to understand the difference between CDMA and GSM phone, particularly when 5G begins to take off. In mobile phones, two foundational innovations, CDMA and GSM phone represent a distance that you can’t reach.
They’re the reason why on Verizon’s network you can’t use older AT&T phones and vice versa. So what exactly does CDMA vs GSM phone mean to you? For two older radio networks (2G and 3G) used in cell phones, CDMA (CDMA Division Multiple Access) and GSM phone (Global System for Mobiles) are shorthand. I’m trying to try to explain in this story who uses the technologies and what the exact discrepancies are.
Ever since 2012, we have been updating this post. It’s time to get off CDMA and CDMA in 2020. CDMA will shut off its CDMA network, and by the end of 2020, T-Mobile will switch off its 2G GSM network. AT&T and T-Mobile will maintain their 3G networks in very low capacity modes in 2021, most of which are meant to serve devices such as electricity meters and vending machines.
It’s going to do the same for Sprint’s old CDMA network now that T-Mobile owns Sprint. This means that if you get a signal at all, 2G/3G coverage and call quality would below. Today, it’s a 4G LTE world, and if you’re not in the world yet, it’s time to move.
Technologies 1G, 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G
If mobile phone companies speak of a “G,” they say cellular technology for a century. Each generation is capable of serving more users and has a stronger capability for data transfer. analog cellular phones were the first generation.
They choose several competing alternatives as carriers switched to 2G digital networks in the 1990s; some of them died out, but the two 2G camps that survived are CDMA and CDMA. During the ’00s to the third generation of mobile phones, they stayed divided, introducing faster data rates but remaining incompatible.
The CDMA/GSM split stopped, in principle, back in 2010, when carriers all migrated to LTE, a single, global 4G standard. But the gap persisted because computers, especially for voice calls, also needed to reach the older 2G and 3G networks. In 2014, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon both began to phase in voice calls over 4G, but it was going slow. All four providers now endorse 4G over voice.
What does GSM in a mobile phone mean?
TDMA is used by the GSM system to divide a frequency into time slots. The most useful thing to note about the Global Mobile Communications System (GSM) is undoubtedly that it’s an international standard. GSM is the only form of cellular coverage available if you’re traveling in Europe and many other areas of the world.
The acronym GSM originally stood for Groupe Spécial Mobile, a party established in 1982 by the Conference of European Posts and Telegraphs (CEPT) to explore the merits of a European mobile telecommunications standard. Currently, commercial operation using the GSM system did not begin until 1991. GSM was built as a digital system using TDMA technologies instead of using an analog operation.
A narrow band that is 30 kHz wide and 6.7 milliseconds long is divided time-wise into three time slots using TDMA. In the common context, narrowband means networks. The radio receives each conversation one-third of the time. This is possible because the voice content that has been transferred to digital data is compressed to take up considerably less room for transmission. Thus, using the same number of channels, TDMA has three times the power of an analog system.
TDMA, along with the Electronics Industry Alliance and the Telecommunications Industry Association for Interim Standard 54 (IS-54) and Interim Standard 1366, is the access system used by GSM (IS-136). In a very separate and incompatible way from IS-136, GSM implements TDMA. Think of GSM and IS-136 as two separate operating systems operating on the same processor, each functioning on an Intel Pentium III, including Windows and Linux. A variety of useful features are given by GSM systems:
Uses encryption to improve the confidentiality of phone calls. Data networking. Category III facsimile services Call routing. Caller ID. Mobile pending. Multi-party conferencing. Quick Message Service (SMS) for text messaging and paging. GSM operates in Europe and Asia in the 900 MHz range (890 MHz – 960 MHz) and in the United States in the 1900 MHz (sometimes referred to as 1.9 GHz) band.
It is used in cellular and PCS-based automated networks. The Advanced Digital Enhanced Network (iDEN), a common system introduced by Motorola and used by Nextel, is also based on GSM. GSM’s tremendous success is a large part of why the acronym is now widely known to stand for the Global Mobile Communications Scheme! You’d be using the GSM app if you were on a mobile phone in Europe. For more useful links, click here to read about making telephone calls from a mobile phone in the U.S. or see the next article.
What is GSM Phone?
GSM stands for Mobile Networking Global Scheme. It is a wireless cellular technology used for mobile voice and data services delivery. Below are relevant facts about the GSM − The idea of GSM originated in the early 1970s at Bell Laboratories from a cell-based handheld radio device. GSM is the name of a standardization committee set up in 1982 to create a similar European standard for cell phones.
In telecommunications, GSM is the most commonly recognized standard and is internationally applied.. GSM is a circuit-switched system that splits into eight 25 kHz time-slots per 200 kHz channel. In most parts of the world, GSM operates in the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz mobile contact bands. In the US, GSM is active in the 850 MHz and 1900 MHz bands. GSM owns a market share of over 70 percent of wireless cellular subscribers worldwide.
GSM makes use of the Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) narrowband technique for signal propagation. Using digital technologies, GSM was developed. It is capable of bringing data speeds of 64 kbps to 120 Mbps. GSM directly serves more than one billion smartphone users in more than 210 countries around the world. GSM delivers integrated voice and data offerings that are basic, including roaming services. Roaming is the privilege on another GSM network to use your GSM phone number. GSM digitizes and compresses data, then sends it down via a loop, each in its own time slot, with two other user data sources.
Technology Behind CDMA vs. GSM
Multiple access technologies are both CDMA and CDMA. They’re ways to pack multiple phone calls or internet access onto one radio channel for individuals. Next came GSM. It’s a system of “time division”. Calls are taking turns. Your voice is translated into digital data, and is assigned a time slot and a channel, so three calls on one channel look like this: 123123123123. The receiver listens only to the allocated time slot on the other end and pieces the call back together.
Whenever you put a GSM phone near a speaker, the pulsing of the time-division signal produced the legendary ‘GSM buzz,’ a ringing sound. Now that’s almost gone, because 3G GSM (as I’ll explain) isn’t a technology for time division.
CDMA needs a little more power for processing. It’s a method of “code division”. The data of each call is encoded with a special key, then the calls are all broadcast at once; the channel will only say 66666666 if you had calls 1, 2, and 3 in a channel. Each of the receivers has a special key to “divide” the merged signal into their separate calls. The CDMA Division has turned out to be a more efficient and scalable technology, so “3G CDMA” is simply a WCDMA (wideband CDMA) or UMTSS (CDMA) technology (Universal Mobile Telephone System).
CDMA, as the name suggests, requires wider channels than older CDMA systems, but it has more data space. Meanwhile, our CDMA networks got trapped at 3.6Mbps. Although there are faster CDMA developments, US carriers opted not to install them and switched to 4G LTE to be more compliant with worldwide requirements instead.