What's the difference between GSM and CDMA?

dniblock

The iPhone 5 comes in two versions apparently, GSM and CDMA.  The 4S combined the two in one model.  I know that GSM is used by some carriers (AT&T) and CDMA is used by others (Verizon and Sprint), but what is the difference?  Is there any advantage of one verus the other from a user's perspective?  

Answer this Question

Answers

6 total
jimlynch
Vote Up (20)

Here's a good explanation of this:

The iPhone 5 Has Separate GSM and CDMA Versions, So Prepare To Stay Loyal To Your Carrier
http://www.cultofmac.com/190321/the-iphone-5-has-separate-gsm-and-cdma-v...

"One of the best things about the iPhone 4S was that it rolled GSM and CDMA into the same baseband. What that means is if you have, say, an AT&T iPhone, it could technically run on Verizon as long as you unlocked it. Likewise, if you had a Verizon iPhone, you could just slap in a GSM pay-as-you-go SIM card if you were traveling in any other country in the world to avoid exorbitant international roaming fees.

With the iPhone 5, though, things are changing. There will be two versions of the iPhone 5, a separate device for both GSM and CDMA carriers. Why? Seems to all be about LTE.
According to Apple’s official specs page, there will be three versions of the iPhone 5. First, there’s A1428 GSM version and an A1429 CDMA version.

They both support LTE, HSPA+ and DC-HSPA, but they do so on different bands, with the 1428 working on AT&T and various Canadian operators carrying LTE support on bands 4 and 17, while the A1429 will work with Verizon and Sprint and offer LTE on bands 1, 3, 5, 13 and 25. The last iPhone 5 is the GSM A1429 variant, and will be offered mostly in global markets."

hughye
Vote Up (18)

Really the only difference I notice from a end user standpoint is that the removable SIM card on GSM phones allows switching phones on a carrier by doing little more than switching SIM cards.  Most of the rest of the world outside the US uses the GSM standard, so if you are a traveler, there is a real advantage there.  I actually keep a spare GSM phone around even though my carrier is Sprint, which is a CDMA carrier.  When I travel to Europe, I just buy a SIM card from a pre-pay carrier in whatever country I'm in, and I have a phone that will work during the trip for very little expense.      

Vote Up (14)

The biggest advantage to the the user is your local coverage. Where I live, there is little to no GSM coverage.

Vote Up (11)

The biggest advantage to the the user is your local coverage. Where I live, there is little to no GSM coverage.

Reetha123
Vote Up (4)

i will help you

Reetha123

By the GSM iphone 5 you can unlock it easily by the network provider or a relevant software or by an onlione vendor like ClassicUnlocking.com easily .By an unlocked GSM iphone you can use any other GSM network in other country.It is more suitable for roaming to other country.But the CDMA iphone 5 ,you can't change the network provider easily.

Ask a question

Join Now or Sign In to ask a question.
It seems like poaching drivers is par for the course in the ride-sharing industry.
Is it crazy to pay $1300 for a Chromebook? Some reflections after a year and a half of living with Google's luxurious Pixel.
Microsoft has consolidated the consumer and enterprise editions of OneDrive under a single Android app, a move it plans to replicate across all the platforms that the cloud storage service runs on.
The EU is investing in IT to help it and its citizens protect themselves from floods.
While SAP has made a big push into mobile software and device management with the acquisition of Sybase and a series of apps, it hasn't made overt moves into the devices market. But this could change down the road, judging from a recently published patent application submitted by SAP.
Apple rumors continue to fly. This time it's the device we're unofficially calling the iWatch, and it'll be here next month, sources say.
Uber has come under fire this week for employing controversial recruitment practices against rival Lyft, but beyond a question of ethics some experts say the revelations could potentially put the company in legal hot water.
The Internet of Things may have been the talk of the tech industry for months now, but communications chip maker Broadcom thinks it's just getting started.
HTC announces the Desire 510 Android phone, but doesn't mention its 64-bit processor. Plus: Samsung previews the Galaxy Note 4, and which product announcements are you looking forward to the most next month?
Bloomberg says Apple will super-size the iPad in 2015. Let's speculate on why they might do that.
Join us:
Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Tumblr

LinkedIn

Google+

randomness