Mobile Phone Technology: CDMA, GSM, 3G? Huh?

Here's a brief, yet informative article on CNet's Ask the Editors about the differences between CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) and GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) mobile phone technologies.  Here are the pros and cons in a nutshell:


Pros: excellent national coverage (larger coverage area than GSM), calls can be placed in lower-signal strength situations, better reception/coverage in tunnels and rural areas, quicker to offer 3G services.

Cons: poor international coverage, will eventually go the way of the dodo bird, not as easy to switch devices.


Pros: excellent international coverage, super easy to switch devices because of SIM (subscriber identity module) cards, easy to port data such as contacts and phone numbers from device to device due to, you guessed it, SIM cards.

Cons: coverage in rural areas can be spotty, little to no coverage in tunnels, slower to deploy 3G services.

So, what is this 3G business, anyway?  3G (Third Generation) technology delivers broadband data services wirelessly to your mobile phone.  It allows you to take advantage of higher speed connections (up to speeds comparable to cable-modem speeds) to browse Web pages, stream music and video, view on-demand programming, play games online, use instant messaging and even videoconference with others.  These services are usually offered at a premium and were pioneered in the U.S. by Verizon and Sprint, respectively.  Today, Verizon Wireless, Sprint and Cingular all offer 3G services.  T-Mobile will deploy such services by late 2006, early 2007.

Are you interested in learning more?  Here's some suggested reading:

* Wikipedia's entry for 3G

* CNet's Quick Guide to 3G Cell Phone Service

* Wikipedia's Comparison of Mobile Phone Standards (CDMA to GSM)

* BetaNew's T-Mobile Plans for Growth, 3G in 2006

Explore posts in the same categories: 3G, BetaNews, CDMA, GSM, Mobile Phone

2 Comments on “Mobile Phone Technology: CDMA, GSM, 3G? Huh?”

  1. Sarah Says:

    nice article..keep it up!

  2. markofando Says:

    Want to start your private office arms race right now?

    I just got my own USB rocket launcher :-) Awsome thing.

    Plug into your computer and you got a remote controlled office missile launcher with 360 degrees horizontal and 45 degree vertival rotation with a range of more than 6 meters – which gives you a coverage of 113 square meters round your workplace.
    You can get the gadget here:

    Check out the video they have on the page.


    Marko Fando

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