What is the Difference between CDMA and GSM Cellular Standards

Home / What is the Difference between CDMA and GSM Cellular Standards - January 28, 2017 , by susanesteba

We all love to use our mobile phones because of their awesome features and services. However, the problem comes in when you have to choose between CDMA and GSM cellular standards. The truth is, they all have their advantages and disadvantages. In case you are wondering what we are talking about, worry not because we are about to define the terms for you and inform you on the differences between these two cellular services.

What is GSM?

Since its establishment, the acronym GSM has stood for a variety of words. Today, GSM stands for Global System for Mobile Communication. Its services are spread all over the globe and chances are very high that your mobile phones use these services unless you have your location in either Russia or the United States of America.

For its proper functioning, GSM uses TDMA which is an acronym standing for Time Division Multiple Access. This allows mobile phones to transfer information easily and the users can communicate effectively. To stay connected to the network, GSM requires that you should have a subscriber identification Module card popularly known as SIM Cards. Through these cards, the various service providers can monitor the activities of the use and charge them according to their usage.

What is CDMA?

This is an acronym standing for Code Division Multiple Access. As opposed to GSM, CDMA’s services are not widespread with many of its users coming from either the United States of America or Russia. While GSM can be considered as a recent introduction, CDMA has been around since the genesis of World War 2. According to popular sources, the NAZI forces developed CDMA services to prevent their enemies from jamming their signals. CDMA allows for more and better connectivity and works across a spectrum of bands. As compared to GSM, CDMA offers each user with utmost privacy. Their voices are protected and are not subject to any exposure whatsoever. However, CDMA does not have SIM cards and all of the users’ services are attached to a specific band. This means that the only way to change your service provider of you is a CDMA user is to purchase a new mobile phone.

Which one should you prefer?

The type of cellular services that you prefer will depend on your personal preference and location mainly. For instance, if you are from a country other than USA or Russia, you will have to use GSM services even if you wanted CDMA. If you prefer more discretion, opting for CDMA is a wise idea because your details remain private. CDMA also has a reputation for providing faster services because it is the basis through which 3G and 4 G cellular networks were built. On the other hand, if you want services that are more cost-effective you should consider going to GSM because it allows you to switch your service provider at your convenience.


Whether to go for GSM or CDMA is up to your personal preferences. However, if you live in a country other than USA and Russia, your geographic location might also play a big role because CDMA services are only available in the countries mentioned earlier. Some of the benefits of CDMA services are that they are fast, guarantees privacy and they are reliable. However, they are expensive and changing a service provider can be problematic. On the other hand, GSM services are cost-effective, widely available and do not have many requirements.

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