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GSM vs. CDMA - Who's the Champion?

Discussion in 'GENERAL Wireless Discussion' started by MachMaster, Aug 20, 2004.

  1. agentHibby

    agentHibby Iowa Cellular Guru
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    You are right bobo that the ability someday will happen, but probably alot of those areas like my hometown won't happen until 2010 with WCDMA. Sprint PCS store back in 2001 said that iPCS should have a PCS tower in hometown in 2003 or 04. Well looks more like 2008 or 09 (if sprint would get some else to build the network it could be up in 2006).

    Fathead and I know that very rural areas area getting GSM, but as many as CDMA is.
     
  2. bobolito

    bobolito Diamond Senior Member
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    It works both ways. You'll have some areas with better CDMA coverage than GSM and others with better GSM coverage than CDMA. Now, why can't Sprint expand to those areas sooner? The reason is that Sprint can afford to wait because they can sleep in their laurels because they can fall back on Analog. So they are in no rush to expand to those areas. However, GSM doesn't have analog fall back, so there is a more urgent need for GSM carriers to fill in those areas. So you won't have to wait until 2010 to see GSM coverage in such areas.
     
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  3. Fathead

    Fathead In the Industry
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    I somehow don't see Edge or T-Mobile spending the $$$ to cover backwater idaho, ever, bobo. But I do see your point.
     
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  4. bobolito

    bobolito Diamond Senior Member
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    Right, I don't see T-Mobile doing that either, and I repeat, ESPECIALLY T-Mobile. They have other places to cover first. But if there's AMPS coverage, you will see another carrier besides T-Mo taking the lead for those areas, probably Western Wireless, Edge, or some other rural carrier that decides to build coverage for roamers only. Don't forget that in those dead areas where there's only CDMA and AMPS, those CDMA carriers have an opportunity to get some roaming revenue by building GSM coverage just for roamers and some have already started to do that in some areas.
     
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  5. agentHibby

    agentHibby Iowa Cellular Guru
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    Bobo where Fathead is talking about is the area where US Cellular has the A block and Verizon the B Block. So that means a PCS provider like Edge or T-Mobile has to build a GSM network inorder to make calls with a GSM phone. On the freeway and major cities you are covered outside of that no coverage.
     
  6. bobolito

    bobolito Diamond Senior Member
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    hmmm...maybe I didn't make myself clear. Just read my last post again: "..those CDMA carriers have an opportunity to get some roaming revenue by building GSM coverage just for roamers..." US Cellular may find some business there. Or you never know. Someone with a PCS license may build there. You never know. I've seen PCS coverage in places that you'll never imagine why they would build there. So it is not impossible.
     
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  7. agentHibby

    agentHibby Iowa Cellular Guru
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    Bobo I do see smaller companies that have PCS put it their network in the boonies much sooner that the big national companies (if they have a license), so if GSM will come to areas that are completely dominated by CDMA someday. That is probably why Iowa Wirless has almost all the PCS licensed markets at 100% buildout. It is possible that smaller CDMA providers do what Western Wireless is doing build a GSM network for roaming revenue. I could see Great Lakes of Iowa (a baby Cellular One) doing this. They kinda got forced to go CDMA because south of there market there is no GSM expect in Fort Dodge Iowa and so the phones would not work in many areas outside of there network where most of there customers roam.
     
  8. Fathead

    Fathead In the Industry
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    The day backwater idaho has gsm coverage is the day i switch.


    however, if that is before 2009, i'll buy you a brand new phone of your choice, bobo. :)
     
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  9. jones

    jones Silver Senior Member
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    There are many markets where VZW is 1900 MHz License Only. I know of areas where at 1000' away of 850 Tower i step inside a Building and my signal goes to Nothing.
     
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  10. jones

    jones Silver Senior Member
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    Final Judgement:

    Biggest CDMA Carrier: VZW (45% OWNED By VODAFONE)
    Biggest GSM Carrier: VODAFONE

    The Champion: VODAFONE
     
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  11. scottb

    scottb Bronze Senior Member
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    In NC, VZW is only 850. In my neighborhood, in Greensboro, only the 850 carriers are useable. VZW and Alltel have coverage. Cingular and AT&T, both at 1900, have very weak or no coverage--it must be a hole in their coverage. I'm only about a mile from Cingular's nearest tower. Sprint's signal makes it to parts of my house, so they're a little better.
     
  12. jones

    jones Silver Senior Member
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    I did'nt really have any problems w/ CINGULAR when i go to Greensboro.
     
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  13. scottb

    scottb Bronze Senior Member
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    Where do you go when you come here?
    In my neighborhood there is an area about two square miles of very bad to no coverage for 1900 carriers. I don't know why, it could be that there are a lot of big trees, the lay of the land, etc. Regardless, I've tried Cingular, with no success. When I went to the AT&T store, the manager there told me it wouldn't be any better because they already share the network with Cingular.
     
  14. jones

    jones Silver Senior Member
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    all over, or the center of town.

    What area are u talking about?
     
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  15. agentHibby

    agentHibby Iowa Cellular Guru
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    Parts of Missouri and most of Texas and all of Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi are PCS.
     
    #45 agentHibby, Aug 25, 2004
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2004
  16. scottb

    scottb Bronze Senior Member
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    I'm talking about the area just west of Friendly Shopping Center. Near the intersection of Friendly Rd. and Holden Rd.
     
  17. ZaphodB

    ZaphodB Signal Go Down De Hole...
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    The larger point here is, who cares?

    If the CDMA carrier has better coverage, pick CDMA.
    If the GSM carrier has better coverage, pick GSM.

    Picking a cell phone carrier based on underlying technology is a very silly idea... as is the idea of picking an 850 MHz carrier simply because 850 MHz waves travel further. It is COVERAGE that matters, and price, and features, and handsets, and customer service, and maybe WAY down the list is technology.

    (Also, spare me the usual shtick about how 850 MHz is better. What makes coverage better is a really well-engineered buildout. A badly-built-out 850 MHz network is inferior to a well-built-out 1900 MHz network, and in most places there is so much topographical interference that it's really a moot point anyway.)
     
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  18. jones

    jones Silver Senior Member
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    My VZW phone has a Dead Spot i know which is still there after 3 years and this is in the Vicinity of my Bank of New York inside and outside the parking area.

    100% Coverage is Simply Impossible.
     
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  19. scottb

    scottb Bronze Senior Member
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    Agreed

    This is all well and good, but that just happens to be the way it works in my area. The 850 carriers work and the 1900 carriers don't. Perhaps it's just a coincidence. :confused:

    I would prefer a GSM carrier (Cingular), not because it's GSM, but because of the features I can get on the plan and the phone(s). But, since VZW is the carrier that works, that's who I use.
     
  20. bobolito

    bobolito Diamond Senior Member
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    The thing is that there are more 850Mhz networks well built than there are 1900Mhz. That's why most of us believe 850 is better. But my argument has never been about which frequency builds a better network, instead, it is about which frequency penetrates obstacles better and has longer range. This alone has tremendous inherent benefits in the overall buildout and the potential service experience. It is not coincidence that Brazil chose CDMA 450Mhz to build coverage deep inside forests and rural areas. The fact that 1900Mhz networks take more towers, more time and money to build are other points that make carriers desire having an 850Mhz license over a 1900Mhz license. The less towers you need, the less you have to fight with the NIMBY's and the quicker you can get the network up to speed. This translates into lower upgrade costs because there are less radios that need upgrading. These are some of the reasons that make 850 better even if there are areas where 1900Mhz coverage is stronger, because the discussion is not about which signal is stronger, but about which signal can deliver more consistent service in most environments. It is all about physical properties of the signal, not about how the network is built or how good coverage is.

    Another problem with how they build 1900Mhz networks is the power set on the towers is always too low and the panels are mounted too low. I don't understand why they do this, but in rural areas I've seen 1900Mhz perform pretty good because they mount towers very high and use high power. Why can't they do this in more urban areas too? This would overcome many blind spots problems with 1900Mhz networks and would not make the 850 vs 1900 differences so obvious. I was standing with clear line of sight about 500 feet from an AT&T GSM tower the other day and I got -31dB on 850Mhz and -47dBm on 1900Mhz. This shows the 1900Mhz panels are using less power which are both mounted at the same height. I was facing the panels while looking at my phone's Test Mode screen. Needless to say, the 1900Mhz signal dies inside my house while the 850Mhz signal stays much stronger and loses less dB when indoors. I don't need more evidence to come to my conclusions.
     
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    #50 bobolito, Aug 26, 2004
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2004
  21. budney

    budney Resident Headbanger
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    My area is a great example of this. Cingular/T-Mobile & Sprint are the two best networks in the area and the few towers they do have, most of them you can't see.

    Once the merger goes through I will more then likely take my new Sprint number to Cingular. I am personally liking GSM more & more. Like many have mentioned it is all about what combination works the best for you. :)
     
  22. jones

    jones Silver Senior Member
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    If these dead spot is Big, they will resolve it first w/ a rooftop in an apartment building. If small a redirection of Signal.
     
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  23. Bugwart

    Bugwart Bronze Senior Member
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    The largest GSM carrier is China Mobile with 188.4 million subscribers (July 2004). Number two GSM provider is China Unicom with 79.8 million GSM subscribers (July 2004).

    The Vodafone Group is split into many separate operating companies. RCR Wireless listed Vodafone DE as the largest of these at number 7 in the world (2003 report). Even summing all the various Vodafone companies together will not come close to China Mobile in size.
     
  24. jones

    jones Silver Senior Member
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    Wow, China Mobile is more than all the combined users in North America. I guess GSM users will really reach 2 Billion. But they say the next billion will come from Africa.
     
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  25. ZaphodB

    ZaphodB Signal Go Down De Hole...
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    Dude, give it a year or two and China Mobile and China Unicom together will have as many subscribers as America has people.
     
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  26. Bugwart

    Bugwart Bronze Senior Member
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    That was only the GSM subs as of July, 2004. If you add in China Unicom's CDMA subs, the two combined should already exceed the population of the US (August, 2004). Another few years at this growth rate and their subs will exceed the population of North America.
     
  27. Bugwart

    Bugwart Bronze Senior Member
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    I hope that this comes to pass and soon. A billion wireless users in Africa will mean that the entire continent is prospering.
     
  28. nobodyheaven

    nobodyheaven New Member

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    If you intend to assess the internet, I think CDMA is better
     
  29. Bugwart

    Bugwart Bronze Senior Member
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    Jones, you got this all wrong. Where do you get your numbers?

    The largest GSM servive provider is China Mobile with over 194 MILLION subs as of the end of September.
     
  30. MOTOhooligan

    MOTOhooligan Former Mobile Data Addict
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