Friday, August 11, 2006

GSM vs CDMA

I am very passionate about cell phones, and the cellphone trend in US is quite disheartening. A major part of US wireless is on CDMA based technologies.

There is nothing wrong with CDMA in general (its a better technology than GSM), but in the implementation. Here is a list of some of the (consumer level) things where GSM has an edge:
  • CDMA was created by Qualcomm, which holds most of the patents in it. As it is mainly controlled by one company, the cost of maintaining a CDMA network is quite high as compared to GSM, which is an open standard.
  • Most of the chipsets in CDMA phones are also made by qualcomm, so there is lesser innovation as compared to GSM phones, which are made by a bunch of companies (compare any CDMA phone with a Nokia or SonyEricsson phone).
  • CDMA based phones are tied to the carrier, and there is nothing like 'SIM' card in it. You can not simply buy a phone from a store and activate it.
  • The newer versions of GSM (WCDMA, etc.) are getting mainstream, which is breaking CDMA's advantage of a better protocol (faster data transfer speeds).
Given these points, it becomes a very easy decision for the user to pick up GSM over CDMA, if there is no cost benefit. GSM is also gaining more and more ground as carieers are moving away from CDMA.

Here are some numbers on GSM and CDMA penetration (source: www.gsacom.com )

8 comments:

  1. Anonymous10:24 AM

    GSM carriers are all migrating to WCDMA which requires almost an entirely new build out because its CDMA technology... it is not GSM. you are clueless.
    GSM is a TDMA technology.
    GSM carriers are migrating to CDMA so how can you say GSM(WCDMA) is better than CDMA? they are both CDMA so CDMA is the best

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  2. There are distinct differences between the CDMA phones and GSM phones. The underlying technology is the same now for 3G, but the application framework is different.

    Why I like GSM (or WCDMA/HSDPA/etc) based operators is because the phones are more open. Nokia and Sony Ericsson don't make any significant CDMA (or EVDO) phones.

    Its all about how 'open' the platform is, and GSM and its derivatives are more open.

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  3. Having traveled all over the world, especially in Asia, I can without hesitation say that GSM is BY FAR the better bet....Voice clarity, fewer (if any) dropped calls, SIM cards, etc. are infinitely superior to CDMA..I am on CDMA in North America, as it is the more accepted standart...unfortunately.

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  4. It was certainly interesting for me to read that blog. Thanks for it. I like such topics and anything connected to this matter. I would like to read a bit more soon.
    Alex
    Cell phone blocker

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  5. It is time to expand this blog to cover LTE - Thanks, GSM Module

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  6. CDMA(Code Division Multiple Access) is a digital cellular technology that uses spread-spectrum techniques.CDMA consistently provides better capacity for voice and data communications than other commercial mobile technologies, allowing more subscribers to connect at any given time, and it is the common platform on which 3G technologies are built.It doesn't have sim card.
    The reason for more GSM usage is that the international Roaming of GSM is Very good and it has sim card,So you can easily swap your sim card when you need.If we got a locked phone means we can unlock it by getting the unlocking service from any one of the online service provider like UnBBLock.com

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    ReplyDelete