Cellular Technologies: The Difference Between GSM, CDMA, UMTS, and LTE (2023)

Cell phoneshaveimproveda lot over the last two decades. Whencell phoneslaunched, a phone could make and receive phone calls withbad voice quality, little to no security, and frequent dropped calls. These days, we haveexcellent voice quality, we can send text messages, browse the web, stream videos, and much more without needing to be connected to WiFi.

This is made possible by a great variety of cellular technology which has evolved over time, and have their roots all across the world. In this article, we'll be breaking down these technologies, which contributed to the evolution of cell phone communication and helped the transition from analog to digital modulation.

Different Cell Phone Technologies

The following technologies have helped mobile communication evolve from the earliest 1G cell phones of the 1980s to the high speed 4G LTE smartphones we enjoy today.

  • Advanced Mobile Phone Systems (AMPS)- A cell phone standard used to define the first generation of analog mobile communication.
  • Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA)- A method used to manage the users accessing a frequency channel on CDMA-based networks.
  • Code Division Multiple Access 2000 (CDMA2000)- A cell phone standard used to define the third generation of CDMA mobile communication.
  • Digital Advanced Mobile Phone Systems (DAMPS)- The second-generation successor to AMPS.
  • Evolution Data Optimized or Evolution Data Only (EVDO)- A mobile broadband technology used to provide the CDMA2000 network with high-speed internet.
  • Evolved High Speed Packet Access (HSPA+)- A mobile broadband technology used to provide the UMTS network with high-speed internet.
  • Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM)- A cell phone standard used to define the second generation of mobile communication.
  • Long Term Evolution (LTE)- A cell phone standard used to define the fourth generation of mobile communication for GSM and CDMA networks.
  • Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA)- A method used to manage the users accessing a frequency channel on TDMA-based networks.
  • Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS)- A cell phone standard used to define the third generation of GSM mobile communication.

Why are Cell Phone Technologies Important?

Cell phones use radio waves to make calls, send text messages, browse the web, and stream videos. These waves travel from your phone to the nearest cell phone tower that’s provided by your mobile operator. The tower then forwards the information to a switching center or control center to connect you to the internet or the user you are trying to reach.

The radio frequencies mobile devices use to transmit information are part of theelectromagnetic spectrum, which is allocated by ICASA. It’s important to note that the majority of the spectrum has been allocated for something. For that reason, new cell phone technology, such as GSM, CDMA, UMTS, TDMA, and LTE, are developed to optimise the use of the frequency bands that have been allocated for cellular use.

Even though these technologies are designed to improve network capacity, reduce latency, improve data speeds, and provide us with better signal, they are not perfect. Sometimes we experience slow speeds,dropped calls, and poor signal due to the distance between your phone and theclosest cell tower, orbuilding materialblocking the signal's path. Fortunately,cell phone signal boosterscan help solve those problems. They eliminate dropped calls, improve your signal strength, and improve your data speeds.

What’s the Difference Between AMPS and DAMPS?

AMPS and DAMPS are based on different technologies – AMPS used analog signals and DAMPS used digital modulation. AMPS correspond to the first generation of mobile networks (1G), while DAMPS, the successor to AMPS, was used for the second generation of mobile networks and beyond (2G, 3G, 4G, etc).

What is AMPS?

In 1983, the first cell phone standard,AMPS, was introduced. It used analog signals to transmit information and was only capable of transmitting voice at amaximum speed of 9.6 Kbps. The problem with AMPS was that it wasn’t encrypted (making the signal extremely vulnerable for eavesdropping), voice quality wasn’t good, and users experienced lots of dropped calls.

AMPS used Frequency Division Multiple Access (FDMA) technology to allow multiple people to use the same frequency band when transmitting information. FDMA divides the frequency band into multiple frequency channels, but due to analog signals, each channel could only be used by one person. Analog is a continuous signal thatcannot be compressed or manipulated, thus it couldn't be shared with other users.

For example, pretend you are in a payphone room with four phones. The room represents the frequency band, FDMA divides the band and provides four different payphone stations, which represent the frequency channels. Each phone can only be used by one person at a time, meaning the room only has a capacity of four people. If someone enters the room to make a phone call while all of the phones are occupied, they will vanish from the room (i.e. drop the call they are trying to make) because the capacity of the room has been exceeded.

This was identical to the way landlines worked at the time, where no matter how many phones your home had, only one could be used at a time – otherwise, you’d receive a busy signal.

Imagine how much spectrum would be needed to support the cellular demand of today's day and age. To optimize the use of frequency bands, cell phone communication systems started using digital telecommunication technologies.

(Video) Difference between GSM, UMTS and LTE

What is DAMPS?

DAMPS, also known as IS-54 and IS-123, is the 2G digital version of AMPS. Rather than using analog, it used digital modulation. Digital modulation is the process of converting your voice or analog signal into digital code, compressing it which optimizes the use of the frequency channel, and then sending it to the receiver who decodes the information.

Similar to AMPS, DAMPS used FDMA to divide the frequency band into multiple channels. In addition to FDMA, itintroduced TDMA technologyto increase the number of people that could share one channel. TDMA breaks down the frequency channel into three time slots. Each time slot gives the user a specific amount of time in which they can send or receive information.

Let’s go back to the payphone analogy to elaborate further. In the room (frequency band), there are four phones (channels), rather than one person being at each phone, there are three people (time slots) in line at each phone. The first person in line at each phone can make a call, but they can only send or receive information within the time allowed. Once the time has run out, they have to go to the back of the line and wait for the other two people to use their time slots before they can send or receive information again. Since the transitions between the first person and the other people in line are very short, the receiver wouldn’t notice the time gap.

With the use of digital signals and a combination of FDMA and TDMA, the number of people that could access the network at the same time tripled.

What’s the Difference Between GSM and CDMA?

GSM and CDMA are two forms of radio technologies that cell phone networks use to transmit voice and data. GSM is used by most of the world.

The main difference between CDMA and GSM technologies is how they connect to the network. GSM phones use removable Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards to access the network. By contrast, CDMA phones are directly connected to the network. So, if you ever decided to switch phones, GSM devices require you to pop your SIM card into the new phone. On the other hand, CDMA devices require you to get in contact with your cellular service provider to make the change. For that reason, many GSM iPhones, Samsungs, Google Pixels, and LGs, experience compatibility issues when trying to connect them to a CDMA carrier, and vice versa.

Another major difference between both networks is the technologies they use to transmit information. GSM uses a combination of FDMA and TDMA, while CDMA usesspread spectrum technology.

What is GSM?

GSM is a digital telecommunications standard that was developed by the European Telecommunications Standard Institute (ETSI) to define the 2G cellular network. 2G GSM offered voice calls, SMS messaging, and basic data services.

Every network (2G, 3G, and 4G LTE) utilizescellular frequency bandsto send and receive information, whichvaries by country. 2G GSM used the 850 MHz and 1900 MHz frequency bands in North and South America, and the900 MHz and 1800 MHz bandsin Europe, Asia, Australia, Middle East, and Africa.

To transmit information, GSM usesFDMA and TDMA. FDMA breaks down the radio frequency band into multiple channels and TDMA breaks the channel down into time slots to allow more people to transmit information at the same time.

Unlike DAMPS, the TDMA technology GSM used divided each channel intoeight time slotsrather than three. The GSM payphone room functions the same as the DAMPS payphone room described above, but rather than each payphone having a line of three people, it can have up to eight. Remember, each person can only send or receive information during the time allowed. After the first person at each line has used up their time, they have to go to the back of the line and wait for the other people to use up their time. Even though the channel can be used by more people, it does not decrease the voice transmission rate, meaning that the receiver won’t notice the time division.

In order to access the network or to enter the payphone room, each handset device is required to use a SIM card. The SIM card holds your mobile subscription identification number, your phone number, and your service subscription details. In addition, the SIM card assigns each voice transmission a time slot andtells the network what services you can access.

(Video) Wireless Basics - GSM, CDMA, and LTE

The 2G GSM network didn’t provide the most efficient data services – its speeds were about 14.4 Kbps. Enhancements were later made to the network to improve the efficiency of the data. Over time, General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) was introduced, which offered a maximum download speed of 171 Kbps. GPRS was followed by Enhanced Data Rate for GSM Evolution (EDGE), which offered a maximum download speed of 386 Kbps. Since speeds where improving, but weren’t fast enough to be considered 3G, 2G networks that utilize GPRS are also known as 2.5G, and those that use EDGE are known as 2.75G.

What is CDMA?

CDMAwas designed byQualcomm. It was first used by the military during World War ll to prevent the Axis from jamming radio signals. It operates on the 800 MHz and 1900 MHz frequency bands to transmit information.

CDMA uses a channel access method to transmit data. It gives its users full access to the entire spectrum of bands to optimize the use of the available bandwidth. Each channel can supportup to 61 users. Let's use the payphone room analogy to elaborate on how CDMA works. This new payphone room is more efficient, it allows way more people to use the same frequency channel simultaneously. In the CDMA payphone room, there are four payphone stations and there can be up to 61 people at each station. The phone stations represent the frequency channels, and the people represent the users of the CDMA network.

Unlike GSM, which provides one phone to be shared amongst a maximum of eight people, CDMA provides a payphone station that is made up of 61 phones. Therefore, every user can make a phone call at the same time and use the entire channel to send and receive information for however long they wish, as opposed to occupying a fraction of the frequency channel with a specific amount of time allocated to each user.

Since multiple people are transmitting information at the same time within the same channel, there needs to be a way to prevent one conversation from colliding or interfering with another. CDMA uses spread spectrum technology to encrypted or encoded each conversation with arandomized unique key to protect voice dataand keep it private. The only user that can decode the message is the one who holds the key, which is the receiver.

Because of its efficiency and improved security, many mobile phone standards utilize CDMA as their channel access method, such as IS-95 (also known as CDMAONE), CDMA2000, as well as UMTS.

What’s the Difference Between TDMA and CDMA?

TDMA and CDMA are bothchannel access technologies. Channel access technologies allow multiple users to share the same frequency band when sending and receiving information. These two standards of digital technology use different algorithms to transmit information between devices.

TDMA is based on thetime-division multiplexing(TDM) scheme. To allow multiple users to transmit data through the same channel, TDMA technology divides the signal into different timeslots within the channel. Meaning, every phone call that is being transmitted through the same frequency channel can only send and receive information within their specific time slot.

Using our payphone room analogy, person 1 can use the phone (the channel) to send or receive information within the specific amount of time given to them. After their time is up, they have to go to the back of the line and wait for the others to use up their time slots before person 1 can use the phone again. Thedata is transmitted in rapid succession, and each transmission uses its own timeslot. As a result, multiple users can share the same frequency channel.

As mentioned earlier, CDMA is based on spread spectrum technology that allows multiple users to use the same frequency channel at the same time, rather than occupying a fraction of the channel. In the payphone room, CDMA provides one payphone station (the channel) that consists of multiple phones.

Unlike TDMA, every person using a CDMA payphone can send and receive information for however long they want – they don’t have to alternate with each other to transmit information. To avoid interference and protect the information, each transmission is encoded with a unique code thatcorresponds to the source and destination of the signal.

What’s the Difference Between UMTS and CDMA2000?

UMTS and CDMA2000 were used to transition from the 2G network to the 3G network – one was designed to work alongside GSM, while the other works with CDMA. UMTS was developed by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) and CDMA2000 was developed by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project 2 (3GPP2). They are both part of the International Telecommunications Union’s IMT-2000 standard sets, which is a fancy name that represents a family of 3G cellular standards.

(Video) Mobile network technologies GSM/GPRS/UMTS/LTE

What is UMTS?

UMTSis the 3G standard for the GSM network.

UMTS uses Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (W-CDMA) toincreased voice capacity and provide faster speeds. The 3G GSM network does not use FDMA or TDMA technology to transmit information like 2G GSM; it uses CDMA technology. The people using the 3G GSM network are no longer given time slots to share a frequency channel.

The UMTS payphone room would look very similar to the CDMA payphone room. Each data transmission would be protected by a unique code that can only be unlocked by the receiver.

Since the GSM technology was very different from what 2G GSM used, new base stations and new frequency allocations were needed to support UMTS technology.

This new standard offered download speeds up to 2 Mbps and upload speeds of 128 Kbps. Later HSPA was integrated into the mobile standard, followed by HSPA+. HSPA increased download speeds up to 14.4 Mbps, while HSPA+ increased download speeds up to 42 Mbps.

What is CDMA2000?

CDMA2000, also known as CDMA2000 1xRTT or IS-2000, is the 3G standard for the CDMA network. It’s based on CDMA technology to allow multiple users to use the same frequency channel at the same time. Each transmission is encrypted with a key that can only be deciphered by the receiver.

Voice and data services use different technologies. Voice uses CDMA2000 1xRTT technology, while data uses CDMA2000 EVDO.

1xRTT (Single Carrier Radio Transmission) was thefirst type of CDMA2000 technology. Compared to 2G CDMA, CDMA2000 1xRTT doubles the network voice capacity so that more people could talk on the phone at the same time. Under perfect conditions, 1xRTT provided data rates up to 153 Kbps, with real-world data rates averaging between 80 to 100 Kbps. Its successor,1x Advanced, provided up to four times greater capacity.

EVDOfocuses on implementing high-speed data rates for the CDMA network. This technology increased data rates up to 2.4 Mbps, and with later revisions, it increased to 3.1 Mbps. Keep in mind that EVDO only addresses data, not voice. To work, it needed a specific frequency channel, which was separated from the voice network. As a result, voice and data cannot be used simultaneously.

What’sthe Difference Between WCDMA and CDMA?

The WCDMA network (also known as UMTS) is based on CDMA technology and is one of the most popular air interfaces use in mobile devices. Just like CDMA systems, WCDMA uses a coding scheme to send and receive information.

The main difference between WCDMA and CDMA is that they are designed to work with different networks. WCDMA is a 3G technology designed to work alongside the 3G GSM network. CDMA, on the other hand, is a2G technology that is a direct competitor to GSM.

Additionally, WCDMA’s frequency bands are much wider than those used by CDMA – hence the name Wideband CDMA. WCDMA uses frequency bands that are 5MHz wide, while CDMA uses bands that are 1.25MHz wide. The wider bands support more data capacity and allow more users to transmit information simultaneously.

(Video) CDMA vs. GSM: What's the Difference?

What’s the Difference Between EVDO, HSPA, and HSPA+?

EVDO, HSPA, and HSPA+ are mobile broadband technologies. Meaning, these technologies make accessing the internet through your phone possible. 3G CDMA networks utilize EVDO, while 3G GSM networks use HSPA and HSPA+. The differences between EVDO and HSPA are how they work and the speeds they can achieve.

What is EVDO?

EVDOis the mobile broadband technology used by the 3G CDMA network. Basically, EVDO enables carriers that utilize the 3G CDMA network to provide their mobile devices with high-speed internet access.

EVDO separates voice services from data services tomaximize data transfer and provide high-speed internet access. In other words, voice and data operate on different frequency channels. As a result, voice and data cannot be used simultaneously. Meaning, that you won't be able to access the internet or any data tools while you are talking on the phone.

When EVDO was adopted, under perfect conditions, it could achievedownload speeds up to 2.4 Mbps and upload speeds of 153 Kbps. Most users would experiencedownload speeds of 400-700 Kbps. Revisions were later made to improve data rates. With Revision A (Rev. A), EVDO’s download speeds improved to 3.1 Mbps, and upload speeds improved to 1.8 Mbps. Revision B (Rev. B) drastically enhanced the data speeds; it provided maximum download speeds of 14.7 Mbps and maximum upload speeds of 5.4 Mbps.

What is HSPA and HSPA+?

HSPAis the mobile broadband technology used by the 3G UMTS network. HSPA is composed of two different protocols: High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) and High-Speed Uplink Packet Access (HSUPA). These technologies enhanced the original 3G data rates of 2 Mbps downlink and 128 Kbps uplink, to 14.4 Mbps downlink and 5.8 Mbps uplink.

In 2008, HSPA+, an improved version of HSPA, was introduced. It enhanced the 3G UMTS network even more. With HSPA+ data rates could reach up to 42 Mbps downlink and 11.5 Mbps uplink. Since HSPA+ couldn’t quite hit 4G speeds, it’s also known as 3.5G.

Unlike EVDO, HSPA and HSPA+ are able to transmit voice and data simultaneously.

Difference Between GSM, UMTS, CDMA, CDMA2000, and LTE

GSM/UMTS, CDMA/CDMA200, and LTE are mobile standards that were developed to work with different networks. GSM and CDMA were used to move into the 2G network, while UMTS and CDMA2000 were used to transition into the 3G network. LTE, on the other hand, migrates CDMA/CDMA2000 and GSM/UMTS into the 4G network.

Since LTE pushes CDMA/CDMA2000 and GSM/UMTS networks into the next generation, it’s seen as the first step into streamlining the network. It was designedto increase the capacity, speed, and throughput of the mobile network.

LTE allows us to make phone calls, send text messages, browse the web, stream high-quality videos, and play games. To fulfill all of these demands with low latency and high speeds, LTE uses different technologies to transmit information from a cell site to a mobile device (known as downlink), and to transmit information from a mobile device to a cell site (known as uplink). It utilizes Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) for the downlink and Single Carrier Frequency Division Multiple Access (SC-FDMA) for the uplink. These technologies improved the channel compacity to allow more people to send and receive information at fast speeds.

Due to the technologies it uses, theLTE network offers a maximum download speed of 300 Mbpsand a maximum upload speed of 75Mbps. Enhancements were later made to the 4G LTE standard and speed improved. LTE Advanced offered download speeds up to 1Gbps and LTE Advanced Pro supported download speeds up to 3 Gbps.

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(Video) CDMA vs. GSM: What's the Difference?

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FAQs

What is the difference between LTE CDMA and GSM UMTS? ›

GSM/UMTS, CDMA/CDMA200, and LTE are mobile standards that were developed to work with different networks. GSM and CDMA were used to move into the 2G network, while UMTS and CDMA2000 were used to transition into the 3G network. LTE, on the other hand, migrates CDMA/CDMA2000 and GSM/UMTS into the 4G network.

What is the difference between LTE CDMA and CDMA? ›

CDMA is a set of protocols used in 2G and 3G mobile communication networks. LTE is a protocol used in 4G broadband technology; it provides high-speed data access. CDMA is a set of protocols for 2G/3G wireless communication. LTE is nowadays the de-facto standard for 4G high-speed wireless communication.

What is the difference between LTE and GSM network? ›

GSM is the classic radio communication system in mobiles, whereas LTE is primarily the next generation of wireless technology for the system of cellular mobile communication. LTE and high-speed data transmission go hand in hand. LTE supports only data transmission, whereas GSM supports both data and voice.

What is the difference between GSM and CDMA technology? ›

GSM stands for Global System for Mobile communication, while CDMA stands for Code Division Multiple Access GSM uses FDMA (Frequency division multiple access) and TDMA (Time division multiple access). GSM supports transmitting data and voice both at once, but CDMA does have not this feature.

What network mode should I use? ›

Tap the appropriate setting:
  1. Global. : This is the preferred setting for most locations.
  2. LTE/CDMA. : This setting should only be selected if experiencing service issues in locations that offer multiple network types and only LTE/CDMA is needed.
  3. LTE/GSM/UMTS.

What network mode should my phone be on US Cellular? ›

By default, your device will automatically select the U.S. Cellular network. If the U.S. Cellular network is not available, the device will try to make a connection with another network that U.S. Cellular has an agreement with. This is called roaming.

How do I know if my SIM card is GSM or CDMA? ›

In the About (iOS) or Status (Android) page, scroll down and check for a MEID, ESN, or IMEI number. If your phone has a MEID or ESN number, it uses CDMA, and if it has IMEI, it uses GSM. If you see both, that means your phone supports both GSM and CDMA networks.

Is LTE same as 5G? ›

5G has lower latency than LTE. The 5G standard is intended to substantially reduce downloading latency down to 4 milliseconds for phone devices and one millisecond for devices such as self-driving vehicles that depend on ultra-reliable low latency connectivity (about ten times quicker than LTE's ten milliseconds).

Are 4G phones GSM or CDMA? ›

4G LTE is neither CDMA nor GSM but a separate cellular technology that provides the 4G migration path to 3G networks on CDMA and GSM tracks. CDMA2000 is the 3G technology on the CDMA track, and UMTS is the 3G technology on the GSM track. Both UMTS and CDMA2000 use the LTE technology for 4G services.

Is 5G CDMA or GSM? ›

Comparison table
GenerationTechnologySignal quality/coverage area
3GW-CDMASmaller cells and lower indoors coverage on 2100 MHz; equivalent coverage indoors and superior range to GSM on 850/900 MHz.
4GOFDMASmaller cells and lower coverage on the S band.
5GOFDMADense cells on millimeter waves.
4 more rows

Who still uses CDMA? ›

CDMA is one of two cellular technologies that help bridge the gap when there's no 4G signal. Verizon (and previously Sprint) currently use the CDMA network.

Does LTE mean SIM card? ›

LTE stands for Long Term Evolution and is sometimes referred to as 4G LTE. It's a standard for wireless data transmission that allows you to download your favorite music, websites, and video really fast—much faster than you could with the previous technology, 3G.

What is CDMA cellular technology? ›

CDMA (Code-Division Multiple Access) refers to any of several protocols used in second-generation (2G) and third-generation (3G) wireless communications. As the term implies, CDMA is a form of multiplexing, which allows numerous signals to occupy a single transmission channel, optimizing the use of available bandwidth.

Is T-Mobile a GSM or CDMA network? ›

*The T-Mobile network uses GSM network standards, and it's not a CDMA network.

Do CDMA phones use SIM cards? ›

With a CDMA phone, it'll be locked to a carrier and won't use a SIM card. Instead of an actual SIM card a CDMA phone will be linked to the network via a phone number. Another difference is that on 2G and 3G networks, the GSM network allows you to make voice calls and transmit data at the same time, while CDMA does not.

What is the fastest network mode? ›

For your reference, the speeds from slowest to fastest are: b, g, n, ac. Notice in the picture below that you can select which modes you want the router to work with. If all of the devices on your network support wireless n (802.11ac is faster, but most devices don't support it yet), then select “802.11n only”.

How do I choose a mobile network? ›

how to select mobile network manually - YouTube

How do I switch from CDMA to LTE? ›

Cell Global Device Settings
  1. From home screen, tap Apps Applications icon.
  2. Tap Settings.
  3. Tap More networks.
  4. Tap Mobile networks.
  5. Tap Network mode.
  6. Tap the appropriate setting: Global, LTE/CDMA, or GSM/UMTS. ...
  7. From Mobile Networks Tap Global Data Roaming Access.

Does GSM and CDMA matter anymore? ›

But in 2022, it's absolutely time to get off of CDMA and GSM. Those networks are going away! If you have a phone that only uses 2G or 3G, you need to get a 4G or 5G phone, pronto. AT&T has already shut down its 2G GSM network and most recently said it will shut down 3G GSM/UMTS in February 2022(Opens in a new window).

Is Verizon still using CDMA? ›

3G CDMA Network Retirement

As previously communicated, Verizon is actively decommissioning our 3G CDMA network. We expect this to be completed by no later than December 31, 2022. This decommissioning effort affects 3G (CDMA) devices, 4G Non-VoLTE devices, and network extenders.

Is the CDMA network going away? ›

Verizon announced that it will finish shutting down its 3G network by December 31, 2022. T-Mobile announced that it finished shutting down Sprint's 3G CDMA network as of March 31, 2022 and Sprint's 4G LTE network as of June 30, 2022.

What phones have both CDMA and GSM? ›

No surprises.
  • Alcatel 3V.
  • BLU VIEW 3.
  • Google Pixel 6 128GB. Google Pixel 6 256GB. Google Pixel 6 Pro 128GB. ...
  • Jitterbug Flip2. Jitterbug Smart3.
  • Motorola Edge (2021) 5G 128GB. Motorola Edge (2021) 5G 256GB. Motorola Edge (2022) 128GB. ...
  • Nokia C100. Nokia C200. Nokia G300. ...
  • OnePlus 10 Pro 5G. OnePlus 10T 5G. ...
  • TCL 20 XE. TCL 30 V 5G.
13 Jan 2020

What carrier uses GSM? ›

Both T-Mobile and AT&T use the GSM network, and therefore sell GSM-compatible phones. However, if you have a phone made in the last couple of years, you probably don't need to worry about which carriers use GSM or CDMA networks since most newer phones work on both networks.

Can you switch a phone from CDMA to GSM? ›

You can't change a phone from CDMA to GSM. Phones are only one or the other. It isn't software that you can just overwrite with something else. They physically cannot be changed.

Why does my phone say LTE instead of 4G? ›

They're the same thing, or very nearly so. LTE is the project that started from GSM and created 3G through to (so far) 5G. The acronym stands for 'Long Term Evolution'. Some carriers started using the 4G technology before 4G was officially ratified, so they called it LTE, and have carried on with the naming.

Which is better WIFI or LTE? ›

LTE provides higher data rate, lower latency, and a simplified architecture. LTE system uses OFDMA-based multicarrier modulation, MIMO techniques, and other advanced features to greatly improve wireless services. WIFI stands for Wireless Fidelity, and refers to any type of Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN).

Will 4G phones work in 2022? ›

T-Mobile has listed the dates for shutting down Sprint's 3G and 4G LTE networks, and migrating people to modern broadband speed pastures. These are January 1, 2022 for Sprint's 3G network sunset, and June 30, 2022 for the 4G LTE connections, respectively.

Should I buy a CDMA or GSM phone? ›

GSM or CDMA? In summary, neither GSM nor CDMA is technically better. They ultimately provide the same service, and the quality of a network depends on the carrier, not the cellular standard used. Second, GSM phones can be unlocked and switch carriers, whereas CDMA phones are locked to a carrier.

What network mode is 5G? ›

In fact, both NSA mode and SA mode are the 5G technical standards stipulated by 3GPP. As the late operators need 5G to enable various industries, so operators are more optimistic about the SA networking model, promoting SA as the ultimate goal of the development of 5G. Therefore, there is no case of true or false 5G.

What does network mode LTE GSM UMTS mean? ›

GSM, UMTS and LTE are 2G, 3G and 4G mobile network technologies, respectively. GSM stands for Global System for Mobile Communications, UMTS stands for Universal Mobile Telecommunications System, and LTE stands for Long Term Evolution (of Mobile Networks).

Is LTE the same as 4G? ›

So what's the difference between 4G and LTE, and is 4G or LTE better? In short, 4G offers a much faster speed, more stability and access to a larger variety of online activities. LTE is a half-point between 3G and 4G, so its performance suffers compared to the fourth generation.

Are iphones GSM or CDMA? ›

Easiest Way to Tell if Your iPhone is GSM or CDMA - YouTube

Are Verizon phones CDMA or GSM? ›

The Verizon network is a CDMA wireless network.

What phones will no longer work with Verizon? ›

Verizon plans to shut down its old 3G CDMA network by the end of 2022, which means 3G devices won't be able to make or receive calls. Customers who are still using Verizon's 3G devices will receive basic flip phones similar to their old devices, but that can work on the company's newer 4G mobile network.

Will 4G go away? ›

No, 4G LTE shutdown will not be happening for atleast a decade. Therefore, the thing to remember is that 4G will not be going away anytime soon, regardless of how fast the 5G network grows. The plan is for existing 4G LTE networks to be used by carriers well into 2030.

Will my LTE phone work after 3G shutdown? ›

Most new phones will work without 3G just fine, and the majority of our readers should never even notice that something has changed even if they lose access to 3G. But some older hardware can't make the trip.

How do I know if my SIM card is LTE? ›

You can also confirm that a SIM card is LTE-ready by checking the number printed on the SIM card it should indicate "403", "405", or "406" for digits 911.

How do you find out if my cell phone is 3G or 4G? ›

On Android smartphones, go to settings > Network settings > mobile network. It should give you a dropdown menu of mobile standards such as 2G, 3G or LTE (4G). If you don't see 4G or LTE, then your smartphone doesn't support the standard.

How do I know if my SIM is 4G LTE? ›

How do I check if my mobile is 3G or 4G?
  1. Dial *#06# on your phone to display your IMEI number.
  2. Go to www.imei.info, enter your IMEI number and select Check.
  3. A report will be produced. Look at the LTE section – it will display all the frequencies that your phone can use.

Where is CDMA used? ›

Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) is a sort of multiplexing that facilitates various signals to occupy a single transmission channel. It optimizes the use of available bandwidth. The technology is commonly used in ultra-high-frequency (UHF) cellular telephone systems, bands ranging between the 800-MHz and 1.9-GHz.

What is CDMA example? ›

Code-division multiple access (CDMA) is a channel access method used by various radio communication technologies. CDMA is an example of multiple access, where several transmitters can send information simultaneously over a single communication channel.

Whats is LTE? ›

LTE (Long-Term Evolution) is a fourth-generation (4G) wireless standard that provides increased network capacity and speed for cellphones and other cellular devices compared with third-generation (3G) technology.

Why does it say LTE instead of 5G? ›

When 5G speeds don't provide a noticeably better experience, your iPhone automatically switches to LTE, saving battery life. 5G On: Always uses 5G network when it's available. This might reduce battery life.

Why is T-Mobile shutting down CDMA? ›

All of the three big nationwide carriers – T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T – are shutting down their 3G networks, primarily so they can use that spectrum and resources for 5G. Verizon plans to sunset its 3G network on December 31, 2022, but AT&T already shut its down; that occurred in February.

What bands does T-Mobile use for LTE? ›

Cheat sheet: which 4G LTE bands do AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint use in the USA?
Carrier4G LTE bandsMain frequencies
T-Mobile2, 4, 5, 12, 66, 711900, 1700 def, 700 a, 600
Sprint25, 26, 412500, 1900 g, 850
Europe3, 7, 201800, 2600, 800
China, India3, 40, 411800, 2300, 2500
2 more rows
19 Jul 2022

Is CDMA safer than GSM? ›

Exposure to Radiation

GSM based phones emit 28 times more radiation as compared to CDMA phones. Continuous exposure to radiation can affect your health. So, CDMA phones are considered safer than GSM.

Why is CDMA preferred over GSM? ›

The signal cannot be traced easily in CDMA as compared to the signals of GSM, which are concentrated in the narrow bandwidth. Therefore, CDMA phone calls are more secure than GSM calls. In terms of encryption, GSM technology has to be upgraded so as to make it operate more securely.

Why does Verizon use CDMA? ›

Verizon Wireless Services

CDMA is a more reliable signal and the towers do not have to be as close to each other for hand off as they do for GSM.

What network mode should I use for Verizon? ›

If you are a Verizon subscriber living within the US, then LTE/CDMA network type is best suited for you.

Is 4G LTE CDMA or GSM? ›

4G LTE is neither CDMA nor GSM but a separate cellular technology that provides the 4G migration path to 3G networks on CDMA and GSM tracks. CDMA2000 is the 3G technology on the CDMA track, and UMTS is the 3G technology on the GSM track. Both UMTS and CDMA2000 use the LTE technology for 4G services.

How do I know if my SIM is GSM or CDMA? ›

In the About (iOS) or Status (Android) page, scroll down and check for a MEID, ESN, or IMEI number. If your phone has a MEID or ESN number, it uses CDMA, and if it has IMEI, it uses GSM. If you see both, that means your phone supports both GSM and CDMA networks.

Is Verizon 4G LTE GSM or CDMA? ›

The Verizon network is a CDMA wireless network.

Who uses CDMA network? ›

Which Carriers Are CDMA? Which Are GSM? In the US, Verizon, US Cellular, and the old Sprint network (now owned by T-Mobile) used CDMA. AT&T and T-Mobile used GSM.

What is the preferred network type for 4G? ›

LTE stands for Long Term Evolution and is the best 4G solution, with theoretical data speeds of up to 300Mbps. In comparison, HSPA+ speeds usually top off at around 100Mbps.

How do I switch to LTE CDMA Verizon? ›

ANDROID PHONE Before Leaving the US, follow these steps:
  1. From home screen, tap Apps Applications icon.
  2. Tap Settings.
  3. Tap More networks.
  4. Tap Mobile networks.
  5. Tap Network mode.
  6. Tap the appropriate setting: Global, LTE/CDMA, or GSM/UMTS. ...
  7. From Mobile Networks Tap Global Data Roaming Access.

Is 5G CDMA or GSM? ›

Comparison table
GenerationTechnologySignal quality/coverage area
3GW-CDMASmaller cells and lower indoors coverage on 2100 MHz; equivalent coverage indoors and superior range to GSM on 850/900 MHz.
4GOFDMASmaller cells and lower coverage on the S band.
5GOFDMADense cells on millimeter waves.
4 more rows

Is LTE same as 5G? ›

5G has lower latency than LTE. The 5G standard is intended to substantially reduce downloading latency down to 4 milliseconds for phone devices and one millisecond for devices such as self-driving vehicles that depend on ultra-reliable low latency connectivity (about ten times quicker than LTE's ten milliseconds).

What phones have both CDMA and GSM? ›

No surprises.
  • Alcatel 3V.
  • BLU VIEW 3.
  • Google Pixel 6 128GB. Google Pixel 6 256GB. Google Pixel 6 Pro 128GB. ...
  • Jitterbug Flip2. Jitterbug Smart3.
  • Motorola Edge (2021) 5G 128GB. Motorola Edge (2021) 5G 256GB. Motorola Edge (2022) 128GB. ...
  • Nokia C100. Nokia C200. Nokia G300. ...
  • OnePlus 10 Pro 5G. OnePlus 10T 5G. ...
  • TCL 20 XE. TCL 30 V 5G.
13 Jan 2020

What carrier uses GSM? ›

Both T-Mobile and AT&T use the GSM network, and therefore sell GSM-compatible phones. However, if you have a phone made in the last couple of years, you probably don't need to worry about which carriers use GSM or CDMA networks since most newer phones work on both networks.

Are iphones GSM or CDMA? ›

Easiest Way to Tell if Your iPhone is GSM or CDMA - YouTube

Do CDMA phones use SIM cards? ›

With a CDMA phone, it'll be locked to a carrier and won't use a SIM card. Instead of an actual SIM card a CDMA phone will be linked to the network via a phone number. Another difference is that on 2G and 3G networks, the GSM network allows you to make voice calls and transmit data at the same time, while CDMA does not.

Is Verizon still using CDMA? ›

3G CDMA Network Retirement

As previously communicated, Verizon is actively decommissioning our 3G CDMA network. We expect this to be completed by no later than December 31, 2022. This decommissioning effort affects 3G (CDMA) devices, 4G Non-VoLTE devices, and network extenders.

Is Verizon using GSM now? ›

For years, Verizon has used CDMA technology for its 2G and 3G networks. However, the company has been transitioning to GSM technology for its 4G LTE network. As a result, Verizon 4G devices are not compatible with CDMA or GSM. Instead, they use Long-Term Evolution (LTE) technology.

Is Verizon a GSM carrier now? ›

Is Verizon a GSM or CDMA network? Verizon is a CDMA network carrier and works with CDMA cell phones. CDMA stands for Code Division Multiple Access. CDMA and GSM are the two 3G wireless frequencies that provide service when you don't have a 4G signal.

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