CDMA Vs GSM
When looking at buying a mobile phone, one particular term might pop up over and over again: CDMA VS GSM. This is merely two forms of mobile technology which compete against one another. The differences are quite stark, and is the simplest, fastest explanation as to why, for example, an AT&T phone won’t work on Verizon; it does not run on the same format. However, trying to decide what’s best for you might be tough.
Let’s take a look at what each system stands for, and why this matters when choosing a cell phone.
CDMA vs GSM: Code Division Multiple Access
Used by the likes of Verizon and Sprint, CDMA is a commonly used system in the United States. While much of the world uses GSM, CDMA is more common in some parts of the United States. It’s less likely that you will find a CDMA platform outside of the USA, though. In terms of what the CDMA vs GSM debate means to you, though, it’s easy.
For example, CDMA platforms use a network-based whitelist. This is used to help verify a subscriber, and does not use the removable SIM card option that so many are used to across the rest of the world. Sadly, this means that unlocking your cell phone needs to be permissible by your carrier themselves; they have no obligation to accept you, and can refuse to make the transportation.
That’s obviously a bit of a limitation. While you do get CDMA cell phones that use SIM cards, this is for getting access to 4G LTE networks instead. You might wonder why the more restrictive CDMA still gets used, and the answer is simple: when it came along, it was the best kind of tech we had in this particular industry!
GSM caught up and arguably went ahead of CDMA a long time ago. With carriers already in long-term deals, though, it just kind of stuck.
CDMA vs GSM: Global System for Mobiles
GSM, meanwhile, is the polar opposite of the above. GSM carriers keep all of your information on the removable SIM card. It can then be moved from any phone that is unlocked for use with that same carrier. A carrier must accept any GSM-compliant phone, unlike above.
It’s used worldwide, and was the system most commonly taken up across Europe and the rest of the developed world. While, for example, 3G GSM is technically a form of CDMA, using code instead of time division to parse the call, GSM has developed much more over the course of its history.
So, what this means for you is that if you wish to either unlock your cell phone, use it in Europe, swap phones on a semi-regular basis, buy an imported phone etc. then you should go with a GSM network.
CDMA vs GSM is a rather confusing debate; one that can be a rather tiresome ordeal. If you aren’t too fussed about the above, always make your cell phone carrier decision based on coverage and cost quality. If you aren’t sure, though, and think you might want to unlock your phone and change carriers sooner rather than later, the relative safety of GSM is worth your consideration.