Difference Between GSM and CDMA


Main difference

The main difference between GSM and CDMA is that GSM is specific to a SIM card that’s used with the cell phone. On the flip side, the CDMA is handset specific. Let’s talk a few more differences between GSM and CDMA in the comparison chart shown below.

Comparison Chart

GSM is SIM specificCDMA is Handset specific
Data Rate
Full Form
Global System for Mobile communication.Code Division Multiple Acess.
Voice and data transmission at the same time.Can not do voice and data transmission simultaneously.
Network Tower in each cell serves the mobile phone of that area.There are a physical channel and a dedicated code for each device in the network.

What is GSM?

GSM (Global System for Mobile communication) is a standard that forms the foundation for 2G. GSM mobile phones are broken up into a handset and a removable SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) card. SIM contain all of the information regarding the consumer of it. You can fix this eliminate able SIM in another handset to activate it with the exact same identity.

Network and Data Rate

The bigger area is divided into cells, and each cell has a network tower that provides solutions to each of the mobile phone under that mobile. GSM uses GPRS for data transfer that provides data bandwidth that is slower. Hence, data transfer speed is slower in GSM.


Tech and Roaming

The technology used in GSM is TDMA and FDMA. In TDMA a multi-user access is offered by slicing the station into various time slices. In FDMA multiple user access is made possible by dividing the frequencies in the station. As GSM is accepted and used globally, there’s absolutely no issue of Roaming in GSM cellular phones.

What is CDMA?

CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) is a technology which forms the cornerstone of 3G cellular phones. In CDMA there is not any removable SIM. The whole information regarding the user and the account is stored in the internal memory of the handset or device.

Network and Data Rate

Ther is a physical medium, and each device has been given a particular code. The network stations transmit whole frequencies over all of the times. The specific device or handset is identified by the code concept in the network. The data transmission speed is quicker as CDMA uses EVDO which function quicker data bandwidth.

Tech and Roaming

The technology used to identify a number of users in a community is CDM. In CDM multiple users in a channel are separated by the Code they use to send the signal. As CDMA isn’t used or accepted globally, it’s limited Roaming accessibility.

Key Differences

  1. The fundamental difference between GSM and CDMA is the GSM is a SIM specific i.e. a cellular phone is identified in the system by the removable SIM inserted into that telephone. On the other hand, in CDMA the network describes a handset from the data stored in the internal memory and consequently, its handset special.
  2. The technology used in GSM to identify many callers in a station is TDM and FDM. On the other hand, the in CDMA, multiple callers at a station is divided by the code (CDM).
  3. The network tower serves all of the cellular telephone in a network cell in GSM. However, in CDMA there’s a physical channel and a dedicated code for every cell in the community.
  4. In GSM data and voice can be transmitted simultaneously whereas, CDMA can’t.
  5. Since GSM is accepted and used globally it’s roaming accessibility whereas, because of less use and acceptable worldwide CDMA has less availability.
  6. GSM utilizes GPRS that provide lower data bandwidth consequently, it’s the slower data transmission speed. On the flip side, CDMA uses EVDO that provide higher data bandwidth hence it’s faster data transmission speed.
Harlon Moss

Harlon currently works as a quality moderator and content writer for Difference Wiki. He graduated from the University of California in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science. Follow him on Twitter @HarlonMoss