cdma sucksI have always wondered why CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) phones exist. I do not see any benefits to a CDMA phone. Maybe one of our readers can really tell me why they would get a CDMA phone.  One of the biggest reasons I will NEVER buy a CDMA phone is because it is not really a world phone. I tend to travel a lot to different countries and when I have a fancy smartphone I intend to be able to use it easily wherever I am. This is not really possible with CDMA phones, however, with GSM (Golbal System for Mobiles) I can easily use my phone any where in the world. Just pop the sim out put a sim in from that country and I am good to go in a matter of minutes. With a CDMA phone good luck trying to find a CDMA carrier in other parts of the world and then go good luck getting service on your phone within minutes.

In the US there are three major CDMA carriers Verizon, Sprint and Metro and two GSM carriers T-mobile and ATT. So, CDMA phones do make up the majority of the phones in the United States I think and this just bothers me. Every other place in the world has a majority of GSM phones where as the USA which always wants to be different from everyone else still has CDMA phones as the majority! Is this just the US ego of saying we will be different because we want to be different? Like still using inches and feet and lbs and ounces while majority of the world uses the metric system which is hell of a lot simpler when converting to different units and trying to describe a measurement. For example WTF is 3 and 5/16ths of an inch? why not just use a decimal system like 84.15 millimeters. Anyways, this topic is for another day, back to CDMA phones.

As I am writing this article, I did some “CDMA vs. GSM” google searching and did not really come across any information that could explain to me why CDMA phones are better than GSM. Maybe our readers can knock some sense into my brain and enlighten me. Whenever I am considering of switching carriers I never even think about Verizon, Sprint, or Metropcs my only two options are ATT and Tmobile because I need the GSM capability to switch out sim cards when traveling.

 

7 COMMENTS

  1. One reason. Cause you can’t use a Verizon phone on any other network, period. They are the most closed, over protective provider I know of. That’s why they blocked the full functionality of BT for years on their phones. They don’t need any Federal laws to keep you locked to their ecosystem. They have CDMA.

  2. I’m no fan of CDMA either, but by the way, about eighty countries have it (though not necessarily on Verizon and Sprint bands):
    wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_CDMA2000_networks#Countries

    While sort of on the subject, HSPA+, for me at least (Nexus 4 with an HSPA+ 42mbps radio, also a dormant LTE radio, though I don’t yet have coverage) is nothing to sneeze at. Here, lemme do a speedtest and screenshoot the sucker, I’m in the mood:

    Wonder what that would look like on LTE, and how different my battery life would be. If there is any negative effect on battery, given that 22mbps down is .. rather fast for phone stuff, I’ll only fire up LTE for speedtest drag races with y’all. HSPA+ has rather high /theoretical/ speeds and it’s quite widespread and doesn’t attract as many battery complaints as LTE phones.

    But, what’s important about LTE, why carriers are rolling it out (other than a marketing arms race), why HSPA+ isn’t good enough, is that it has much better spectral efficiency than HSPA+ or anything else. That means that if you want to fill up a stadium with the greatest number of smartphone users who remain satisfied with the connectivity of their phone throughout the game, you use LTE. Doesn’t matter how many towers you stuff into the stadium, it’s the spectral efficiency of the standard, and the winning standard is, by far, LTE, which is about twice as good in this sense than HSDPA/HSPA and about 13 times more efficient than CDMA (EVDO rev A) and WiMAX, and 18x better than wifi 802.11a/g. Same deal with trying to cover a dense city like New York and San Francisco, if you want to have more and more customers before they start bitching about how shitty a carrier you are, gotta invest in LTE fast.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spectral_efficiency#Comparison_table

    But if you’re on a not-so-popular carrier in a not-so-dense area like I am, and you’re lucky to have t-mobile coverage in places you tend to go, I have no reason to want LTE, not at the speeds I’m getting. T-Mo actually delivered well in Manhattan too.

    But CDMA? Man, that sucks. I forgot people were still stuck on that.

    Thanks for the article Vikram.

  3. > I did some “CDMA vs. GSM” google searching and did not really come across any information that could explain to me why CDMA phones are better than GSM.

    You need to work on your Googlin’ Skills.

    .

    These Articles cover the basics:

    Difference Between GSM and CDMA
    http://www.engineersgarage.com/contribution/difference-between-gsm-and-cdma

    Giz Explains: What’s the Difference between GSM and CDMA?
    http://gizmodo.com/5637136/giz-explains-gsm-vs-cdma

    Spectral Efficiency Comparison Table
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spectral_efficiency#Comparison_table

    Comparison of mobile phone standards
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_mobile_phone_standards

    The simple answer is that it is like comparing Betacam to VHS, one is a BIT better but the other is MUCH more popular; and both will be replaced shortly.

    Due to the larger share of the Market there are more GSM Phones to choose from and Roaming is easier.

    .

    You need to think MORE about Pentaband 4G LTE and AWS so your Phone will be resellable in the years to come. A top of the Line Phone is likely to be ‘smooth as butter’ in a few years, just like the day you bought it.

    It is less likely that you will “need” something to be twice as good as what the late 2012 – early 2013 Phones offer.

    Will you need a Phone with twice as large a Screen, or twice the DPI. Will you need a Phone that is twice as fast (only if you play Games or run Benchmarks all day). How about 4GB of RAM or 128GB of Storage. Need WiFi twice as fast as 801.11ac; do you even own a Router for “ac”. How about a 25MP Camera for your Phone and your Poster-Format Printer.

    Nope, most People will not “need” any of that; what they will need is ‘roamable’ LTE and AWS so make sure your Phone has that (for roaming and resale value, along with longevity).

    Just make sure whichever Wireless Standard you go with lets you move to the other side of town (or across the Country) and still keep your Phone (without Contract Termination Penalty, or outright owning a Phone that can not get a Dialtone).

    I spend more of my time worrying about which Mfg. has the best SDK and which Processor is better supported by the Community (along with which OS is more popular). I chose GSM long ago but CDMA is technologically superior.

  4. Old 2g Gsm sucked. But 3G gsm (umts,wcdma) is super cool, unlike 3g cdma2000 which uses ancient evdo reva/b capability. And the hype of cdma offering last mile connectivity is bull. Put as many gsm cell sites like cdma and you are good. USSD not present either on Cdma.

  5. GSM was designed before CDMA, and as an open technology that gives more freedom and choice. SIM cards are mandatory, as is the ability to use the phone on other compatible networks . Later on, CDMA technology was invented. CDMA offered carriers the ability to lock a phone to one network permanently, and did not mandate SIM cards (though carriers can choose to use them if they wish, none in America do). New carriers started picking the CDMA technology over GSM for this reason, while old carriers ditched their GSM and chose CDMA, so in order to compete with the growing CDMA standard, the GSMA (creators of GSM) introduced SIM locks and cell phone locking.

    GSM technology is still much better, because GSM phones can be unlocked. CDMA phones are permanently tied to the carrier they originated with. Luckily CDMA is practically dead at this point, being replaced by LTE which is a newer form of GSM. One day its very likely every network in America will be LTE only, and phones will be swappable between all of the networks provided the phone is unlocked and supports the proper band(s).

  6. you’re so funny.

    1. GSM is better. CDMA sucks : the phone is tied to the carrier

    2. imperial unit is archaic, imprecise & unscientific/

    cheers.

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