Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!

diffrence between cdma and gsm iphone?

tbluhp

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 6, 2006
990
6
The CDMA works good with Verizon but it's expensove my question is the gsm what is the difference?
 

Agent-P

Contributor
Dec 5, 2009
2,502
23
The Tri-State Area
Since you don't have a location listed, I'm going to assume you're in the US. Here, Verizon and Sprint are the two major CDMA carriers. T-Mobile and AT&T are the main GSM carriers. The biggest difference (without getting into the technical side) is that GSM carriers use a SIM card (a small chip that contains your phone number and links with your phone account at T-Mo/AT&T) and CDMA carriers do not use one. The advantage of GSM is because the information is stored on the SIM card, if you buy a new phone then you can switch the SIM into the new phone and be good to go. With CDMA, you have to either log into your account or call Verizon/Sprint and have the service switched to the new phone. And since GSM is more widely used around the world, if you get your handset carrier unlocked, then rather than paying roaming fees when abroad, you can just pop a local SIM and be good to go.

Also, the link Interstella5555 posted has some more good info if you go with one of the first three links.
 

maflynn

Moderator
Staff member
May 3, 2009
67,200
34,341
Boston
I'd not bother picking GSM vs. CDMA, as much as picking the carrier that best services your area and has the best service.

I picked verizon, not because it uses CDMA, but rather its coverage area, particularly LTE is superior to ATT. I travel up to NH, and I lose complete cell phone coverage on ATT, but with VZW, I get a strong signal.
 

takeshi74

macrumors 601
Feb 9, 2011
4,974
68
The CDMA works good with Verizon but it's expensove my question is the gsm what is the difference?
There are technical differences but that probably won't matter to you. Select the carrier based on coverage where you need it.

Stick to GSM, simple as that.
It's not that simple. At least provide the why behind this so others can assess whether your priorities are relevant to their own.

The biggest difference (without getting into the technical side) is that GSM carriers use a SIM card (a small chip that contains your phone number and links with your phone account at T-Mo/AT&T) and CDMA carriers do not use one.
That's incorrect. LTE devices use SIM cards.

And since GSM is more widely used around the world, if you get your handset carrier unlocked, then rather than paying roaming fees when abroad, you can just pop a local SIM and be good to go.
That's not unique to devices from GSM carriers. If you have a world phone from a CDMA carrier you can do the same thing. The Verizon 5 is already unlocked.
 

Agent-P

Contributor
Dec 5, 2009
2,502
23
The Tri-State Area
That's incorrect. LTE devices use SIM cards.


That's not unique to devices from GSM carriers. If you have a world phone from a CDMA carrier you can do the same thing. The Verizon 5 is already unlocked.

I didn't include those because they applied to pretty specific aspects. I was going for a more general explanation. But in hindsight I should've mentioned them because the iPhone 5 is an LTE device.
 

Diseal3

macrumors 65816
Jun 29, 2008
1,071
95
Does it really matter with these phones having GSM radio? Not like anyone keeps a phone for much more than 2 years anyway. Worst case you sell the phone. Not as big as a deal as it used to be.

In a nut shell its how it processes the call and/or data.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.