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Difference between CDMA and GSM

Difference between CDMA and GSM

Covered extensively in both the United States and globally, there are two primary cellular network technologies: CDMA and GSM. However, what many people don’t know is the difference between these two types of networks. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the distinctions between CDMA and GSM technology as well as explain why having a better understanding of these differences can be so important for cell phone users.

What is CDMA?

CDMA, or Code Division Multiple Access, is a type of cellular network technology. It uses a code to identify each user on the network, allowing multiple users to share the same frequency band. CDMA is used by many cell phone providers, including Verizon and Sprint. CDMA networks are considered more secure than other types of cellular networks, making them a popular choice for businesses and government organizations. However, CDMA networks can be more expensive to build and maintain than other types of networks.

What is GSM?

GSM (Global System for Mobile communications) is a digital cellular technology used for transmitting mobile voice and data services. It is the standard for mobile communications in most countries of the world. GSM uses a variation of time division multiple access (TDMA) and is the most widely used of the three digital wireless telephone technologies (TDMA, GSM, and CDMA). GSM digitizes and compresses data, then sends it down a channel with two other streams of user data, each in its own time slot. It operates on either the 900 MHz or 1800 MHz frequency band.

Difference between CDMA and GSM

The two dominant mobile radio networks in the world are Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) and Global System for Mobile communications (GSM). Although both systems utilize digital technology, they are incompatible with each other. The key difference between CDMA and GSM lies in the fact that GSM uses TDMA while CDMA uses CDMA. In a TDMA system, each user is given a different time slot to transmit data, while in a CDMA system, all users share the same time slot but use different codes to spread their data signal. This makes it difficult for a CDMA user to eavesdrop on another user’s conversation.


CDMA and GSM are the two dominant cellular standards in the world. CDMA is used by Verizon and Sprint in the United States, while most of the rest of the world uses GSM. There are a few other cellular technologies, but they are not as popular as CDMA or GSM.
CDMA networks use a technique called spread spectrum, which allows several phones to share the same bandwidth on a cell tower. This is why you can talk and surf the web at the same time on your Verizon phone. GSM networks use a technique called frequency division multiple access (FDMA), which means each phone gets its own frequency to communicate with the cell tower.

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