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Replying to:  GSM vs. CDMA vs. TDMA ?? by Damion   Nov 10, 2003, 8:05 PM

Re: GSM vs. CDMA vs. TDMA ??

by Rich Brome (Moderator)    Nov 10, 2003, 11:15 PM

That's a loaded question in general, and a lot of specific questions! Shocked I'll try my best, though. Wink

Damion said:
I know that GSM is used more often world wide (especially in europe). Are there any technical advantages to one system or the other (superior sound, coverage, e-mail, internet access, IM, etc?)?

In my personal experience, GSM provides better sound than CDMA, but that's also highly dependent on the phone and tower equipment involved (at both ends, if the other person is also using a cell phone).

CDMA, on the other hand, provides better spectral efficiency. In other words, CDMA allows more people to use the same band of radio waves at once.

That has some obvious cost advantages. For example, Cingular (using TDMA and GSM) recently shelled out $1.4 billion for new spectrum in a few areas because they're running out. Sprint meanwhile, (using CDMA,) has ample spectrum pretty much nationwide.

(Technically, it's not that simple, but Sprint's use of CDMA is certainly a factor in their favor when it comes to spectrum.)

For data, CDMA (1xRTT) provides faster speeds at the moment, but the GSM carriers are just months (weeks, in some cases,) away from catching up, by rolling out an upgrade called EDGE. With EDGE in place, there will be very little difference.

Is one system fading out over time?

TDMA. It's fading out right now. The current TDMA networks will still be active for at least several more years, but as soon as AT&T and Cingular finish building out their GSM coverage to match their TDMA coverage, they'll stop selling TDMA phones, (in a year or so.) And then eventually those TDMA networks will be shut off.

Are certain phone technologies limited to just one type? If so, which have generally been deemed the most important (one system features)?

I'm not sure what you're asking... Confused

If there are no major technical advantages to one system over the other is it just a matter of choosing whatever one works best in the areas you are most likely to frequent?

That is absolutely the most important thing. The differences between GSM and CDMA are totally insignificant compared to each carriers' coverage in your area.

Are there general price differences or are those mostly due to Carriers and not the broadcast technology?

The way each carrier structures pricing more than overpowers any price difference in the technologies.

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