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Understanding GSM and CDMA Technology


Understanding GSM and CDMA Technology

Whenever we talk anything on mobile technology, GSM and CDMA are the most commonly used words. Before we decide on which technology is better or superior, its necessary for us to understand the basic differentiation of the two technologies.

CDMA: stands for Code Division Multiple Access. Both data and voice are separated from signals using codes and then transmitted using a wide frequency range. Because of this, there are more space left for data transfer and this was one of the major reasons why CDMA is the preferred technology for the 3G generation, which is broadband access and the use of big multimedia messages. 14% of the worldwide market goes to CDMA.

GSM: stands for Global System Mobile. Even though it is sold as “the latest technology” in several countries, this technology is older than CDMA. But this doesn’t mean that GSM is inferior or worse than CDMA. The major advantages of GSM are roaming readiness and fraud prevention. GSM is the most used cell phone technology in the world, with 73% of the worldwide market.
In the beginning, GSM was more superior than CDMA because of the fact that it had more services and allowed more data transfer. CellphoneBut currently CDMA also has the same features like multimedia messages, video, high-speed internet access, digital camera and even PDA functions, which were available in GSM.

Since bandwidth is the major problem in the modern times the CDMA has a very clear advantage over the GSM in these terms and also the number of channels(users) that can be allocated in a given bandwidth is comparatively higher for CDMA than for GSM. Further the cost of setting up a CDMA network is also comparatively less than the GSM network.

Advantages of GSM:

  • Facility to change sim card at any time.
  • Roaming faclities, since GSM has coverage of over 70 %, international roaming would be much easier with GSM.

Advantages of CDMA:

  • Higher bandwidth.
  • Greater level of privacy and security to the communication.
  • Lesser radiation while using cell phones.

Due to these advantages there is high probability that CDMA technology will dominate the future of mobile communications. It is expected that in future CDMA will become superior and all the major cell operators will have a migration to CDMA.

NB: In India Reliance communication and Tata Indicom are the important players in CDMA and Vodafone , Airtel, BSNL, Idea are major players in GSM arena.


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Nirmal is a Technology Blogger and a Microsoft MVP in Windows. He can be contacted at You can find Nirmal on , and .



  1. rajesh

    August 9, 2007 at 8:52 am

    this is a good tutorial which is short and sharp to understand…………….thanks..keep it up

  2. suhas

    August 31, 2007 at 6:25 pm

    best of best info is here

  3. Tom

    February 2, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    I have love the tutorial.
    Keep it up!
    Jesus Loves You!!!

  4. sanzilla

    July 10, 2008 at 5:05 pm

    Nice work man , I love this article , short and sweet !
    write more and more tutorials

    you can also find my tutorials @ my web site . I am writing about the emulators and virtual machines.

    thanks bro.

  5. kisira jalalee

    May 1, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    good day pliz can you enlight me on how a call is established from one MS to another in both GSM and CDMA networks

  6. Kallan Dahn

    August 26, 2009 at 12:28 am

    Good, clean write up! Thank you for not filling this article with GSM is supperior bunk, there are enough of those floating around the internet.

    There is much more information available here for cdma

    and there should be a link there for GSM in the author profile. I hope someone finds that useful!

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