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GSM vs. CDMA - Who's the Champion?

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

  1. Airb330

    Airb330 Silver Senior Member
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    Bobolito has a very good point about power. Sprint has a site .7 miles or so behind my mom's house. I don't receive any signal from that tower whatsoever, maybe if I am in the backyard I will flip to it. I pick up signal from the tower on the highway, which is like 3 miles away. Sprint and Verizon both get around -95db in my room there, obviously Sprint has the power turned way up on this site, along with a higher spot on the tower compared to Verizon. I receive good signal on ATT GSM PCS in that house too, from a tower 2 miles away (better than Sprint or Verizon). Sprint needs to turn up their sites in these rural areas!
     
  2. hillbilly44

    hillbilly44 Senior Member
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    One reason for increasing or decreasing the power to a site is interference. Also, the FCC limits the amount of power you are allowed to broadcast at so for a PCS carrier (1900Mhz) the total power output from the Power Amplifier through to the Antenna is approximately 62 watts. That includes to PA output, cable loss, duplexer/combiner gain or loss and finally the output gain of the antenna. Yes a well designed 1900Mhz system works as well as an 850Mhz system, however if you're going to send data over the air 1900 is the way to go based on the channel size. That's why UMTS networks work better on 1900-2100Mhz systems and why PCS 1900 is called broadband PCS. :browani:
     
  3. viewfly

    viewfly Mobile RF Advisor
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    Which is why Verizon is running scared (note their recent ads suggesting that ATT customers switch to them instead of Cingular Blue).

    Cingular made a very bold move to GSM a few years ago and a grand decision to buy ATT. Let's face the facts, with a billion users GSM is the most standard format worldwide and it is not a bad standard in terms of quality: it like the Beta vs VHS argument more than a decade ago.

    GSM is the winner today and much more than likely that group of providers that embrace GSM now will be the winners in the future: from both technology and a market share point of view.

    It is somewhat unfortunate that we have competing technologies(GSM|CDMA) in the US; in Europe, for example, all the main providers are core GSM and they compete for overlaping market share within the same country: a tiny country like the Netherlands has 5 GSM providers with the same coverage. They compete on price and features.

    And for those who consistantly argue that all GSM users will someday have to get new phones (to WCDMA); I got news for you: so will all current CDMA phones have to be replaced too. It is a pointless argument. And besides, who keeps the same phone for more than 2 years anyhow? Or even 1 year? I'm not ignoring other technologies, but with 1 billions users, a smooth transisiton will have to be made from GSM to 'IT'. With the phone turnover rate that it is, most people will not even notice. Data or Voice.

    Even if the world moved to some new universal format, loosely based on CDMA, it will move there when the 1 billion GSM customers and their providers are ready to move. And when that happens, the US will most likely have many providers all using the same technology platform (or at least as the main core tech base, with smaller exotic technologies offered for special needs). Progress cannot be stopped. At that point if the same providers are still around, we will have the same phones and we will only choose Verizon, Cingular, Tmo for the best deal.

    I sometimes wonder at the intensity of the arguments here over CDMA and GSM as if we each own stock shares in these two companies. My bet is on GSM providers to carry me to the future. The rural providers will follow suit. Just compare the GSM maps from Cingular 2 year ago to today. The coverage has increased beyond belief. And the rural carriers will start providing GSM (and CDMA) coverage in the future, to replace AMPS. They will have too.

    My :twocents:. GSM is the winner and the only hope for Verizon, as a company, to remain revelant in the future is a migration to a universal mainstream technology to be accepted worldwide and that happens before Cingular's coverage map equals or exceeds Verison's and they start losing customers in large numbers.

    The only argument that Verizon's had for consumers was 1) they were the largest provider and 2) had the most coverage. Well (1) is no longer true in the USA and (2) is changing fast in the US and was never true worldwide.

    Does anyone have or use a Beta VCR's anymore?
     
    #63 viewfly, Nov 17, 2004
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2004
  4. agentHibby

    agentHibby Iowa Cellular Guru
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    Verizon may not have the most customers, but they do have the largest network, Verizon may not be in as many top 100 or 200 markets like Cingular, but they are in many rural markets that Cingular is not and will not be in for awhile. Verizon Americas Choice network covers many areas that Cingular won't for awhile like my hometown. When CDMA/WCDMA phones come out in 2006 to the US the problems will be sloved.
    So the Champion is.... GSM 1X :lol: :rasp: :hero: :rotfl:







    http://www.gsm1x.com
     
  5. scottb

    scottb Bronze Senior Member
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    viewfly,

    Nice speech! :)

    I can't agree that VZW is "running scared." My guess is that they're taking an opportunity to recruit a few more subscribers--isn't that what it's all about for all the poviders?

    Beta vs VHS...oh the memories! Actually that was more like 20-25 years ago.

    Capitalism breeds competition. Is it bad that there are different technologies? All the providers are still competing on price and features regardless of the technology used. Only the techies like us really have any interest in what technology is used--most people just want the damn thing to work.

    My personal preference would be GSM because it seems to have a better voice quality to me. It also offers a little more freedom in equipment selection. However, the CDMA equipment selection has gotten much better in recent years. For me, GSM service is not an option because Cingular has no usable signal at my home. VZW does, so that's who I use.

    I think VZW still has the most coverage, but I don't think they ever claimed to be the largest network worldwide. You shouldn't make comparisons that are not valid. That's analagous to saying Cingular has the most coverage worldwide because Europe is blanketed with GSM coverage. Not a fair statement.
     
  6. viewfly

    viewfly Mobile RF Advisor
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    Beta... didn't want to show my age :rolleyes:. Perhaps there are members of this forum that really don't know what we are talking about. Beta came from Sony and was consider the best quality VCR recording system. VHS was considered inferior (depending on the tests and the arguments were like CDMA vs GSM...and guess what, we going digital now!) but VHS rapidily became more popular and less expensive. It could record 6 hours vs maybe 4 hours. VHS won and Beta is gone now.

    Actually it is a fair comparison. Verizon has a large network partly because of roaming partners. Cingular has roaming partners around the world: I can take my Cingular (tri band or quad band)) phone to Europe and use it...nothing else to do. I can be reached with my same US number. For my corporate business, this is what we do. It is a real value because I don't have to inform everyone that I will be out of the country (unless I go to Japan). They just call the same number, no extra charges to them either. It is just a call to CT for them.

    If I don't want to pay $1.29/ minute (probably still cheaper than a hotel phone bill), I can buy a local pre pay SIM and still use my same phone, but get a local number. It's true, there is a cdma/GSM phone hybrid now available, but it is like having only 2 GAIT phones to chose from.

    When Verizon losses the US coverage map to Cingular , they will be scared and I think they realize that now. And yes, there is nothing wrong with different technologies, but I can't tell you how bad it was, before digital media, to have VCR tapes from the Europe or the Asian office and try to play them in the US. Vice versa. In communications, standards are a real asset.
     
  7. viewfly

    viewfly Mobile RF Advisor
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    Perhaps it will be. We've been through this before. I'll follow the GSM providers lead on this. My business is worldwide, this is want I need, seamless worldwide communications.
     
  8. viewfly

    viewfly Mobile RF Advisor
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    Yes, those memories are fond. And more like today then we think. Sony was first to the market with Betamax in a huge way, but JVC overtook them mainly because the recording time was longer, not superiority. Sort of like does GSM have better battery life than CDMA

    But something else happened that is similiar to cell phone coverage.

    In video rental stores, all you could find were Beta tapes, then as VHS became popular, there was a mix of beta/vhs, and then only vhs. For me, I remember moving to CT with my betamax machine and I could not find any store that rented more than a few tapes. I had no 'coverage' in CT! That what really killed Beta...when no pre recorded tapes were available anymore. It snowballed. It's like finding only DVD's in Blockbuster today for new releases.

    Or like going to europe and everyone is on a cell phone, and your doesn't work over there. When the coverage is competitive for GSM in the USA (and for most people it already is), it will snowball too. But, like Beta/VHS, the argument will end when a new format emerges and accepted by all.

    I agree Scottb that competition is great...if it breeds a better standard and gets us out of this incompatibility mess. But your right, most people only care about using a phone.

    And europe is not clean either. I understand that a customer is charged one rate if the call is mobile to landline, another rate from mobile to mobile, yet another if mobile to a different provider mobile... yuk! That is the future for us most likely.

    That's all. I'll step down from my soapbox. ;)
     
  9. Andy

    Andy Diamond Senior Member
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    Here's my experience, Larry.

    T-Mobile phones(at least here in SLC) take up to 10 seconds for the first ring when you call them(and that's when the end users phone actually rings).

    -Sprint phones will start ringing right away, but it will take between 1 1/2 to 3 rings for the end users phone to actually ring.

    -Verizon phones here will also start ringing right away, and end users phone usually starts ringing during the first ring or right after.
     
  10. agentHibby

    agentHibby Iowa Cellular Guru
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    In Logan T-Mobile are always the quickest and Verizon seem to be slowest at 2 to 3 rings. 1-2 rings for Sprint and AT&T don't know about Nextel.
     
  11. Andy

    Andy Diamond Senior Member
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    Wierd, this is how things vary, that is why I said "here in SLC"...
    That's wierd. Agent, have you ever called a T-Mo user who is based in S.L.?? They have a long wait time for calls to actually ring, but once they ring the end user's phone rings as well.
     
  12. agentHibby

    agentHibby Iowa Cellular Guru
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    I know China Unicom does GSM 1X don't know of anyone else. Unicom will be perfect for roaming revenue GSM customers CDMA customers WCDMA customers?

    Would love to have lots of money to invest in the wireless business in China :lol:
     
  13. agentHibby

    agentHibby Iowa Cellular Guru
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    Andy, I only call t-Mobile people that are usually in Logan and Provo.
    who knows why it just the opposite.
    maybe the switching station for T-Mobile is in Logan and Verizon in Salt Lake and it takes a many seconds to get to the other place and page the person :lol:

    It is usally 3 rings for me to have my wireless phone paged to get the call. Sometime 2 very very rarely 1 ring, but it has happen before in Logan.
     
  14. Andy

    Andy Diamond Senior Member
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    Lol, that is strange, Agent. Such a drastic change just a little ways away... The 2, 3 rings is what I experienced with Sprint, so this might be different up in Logan as well then. Wireless Service is just unpredictable ;)
     
  15. Bugwart

    Bugwart Bronze Senior Member
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    Sorry Jones, the largest GSM carrier is still China Mobile with 194 MILLION GSM subs.

    If you have the GSM current subs for Vodafone, please post them.
     
  16. agentHibby

    agentHibby Iowa Cellular Guru
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    As of September Vodafone has 146.7 million customers. My best guess is that Vodafone still have the largest network (terms of square mile or meter coverage) and makes the most revenue world wide.
     
  17. charlyee

    charlyee Ultimate Insanity
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    I thought I would throw in my :twocents: into this discussion. It is my understanding that the signal transmission distance for CDMA is twice that of GSM, that would mean you would need twice the number of towers for GSM of equal capacity than you would for CDMA, to cover the same distance.

    That is probably why GSM works so well in Europe and Asia, becase the areas are more populated and close together.

    In the vast middle portion of the US, west of the Mississippi to the Rockies the GSM coverage is almost non existant because of the large distances involved. On the other hand there is CDMA coverage just abour everywhere.

    So I guess the moral of my story is that GSM is best for cosmopoliton areas of the world and CDMA for the rest.
     
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  18. viewfly

    viewfly Mobile RF Advisor
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    I have to be careful how to add to this in a few words without creating more legends.

    The range distance between a cdma and gsm system is not the result of RF power signal traveling better or farther. The reported limit to ~20 miles of GSM has to do with the timing requirements between the base and cell phone: but this limit can be overcome by a synchronization fix. But I don't know if , in practice, it is done.

    But, in practice achieving 20 or 40 miles with a low power handheld is probably unrealistic given topology (buildings or natural objects), low power output from the handheld, 850/1900 freq bands, etc. CDMA has other issues to deal with, like strict power balancing of the handhelds that a given tower receives in order to maintain the weaker caller. I think the caller at 40 miles could be shut off by the guy nearer the tower.

    Beyond the theorectical, weak coverage in the barren areas of the US is not probably related to this issue. But, I would like to hear other opinions.
     
  19. charlyee

    charlyee Ultimate Insanity
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    Hello viewfly,

    Thanks for clarifying some of the mystery behind the 2 systems. So, what do you think is the reason behind the abscense of GSM in middle America? Is it just not financially feasible because the customer base is small and CDMA is already there?
     
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  20. jones

    jones Silver Senior Member
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    This is NOT True,
    Signal transmission distance is determined by Freq Band;
    Like 850 MHz will reach Farther than 1900 MHz
     
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  21. coalminer

    coalminer Senior Member
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    My only question is who owns the patents for GSM?????


    The only reason I say this is because as we all know, CDMA patents are held buy Qualcomm, which is a US company, now when the governments in Europe decided which technology to go with, did you think they were going to chose a technology which is going to create massive royalties to a US company???? I dont think so.

    I wanted to throw this in because there is a reason that GSM is the "global" standard......


    Also it was said that even people on CDMA networks will have to get new phones, that is not true, the complete upgrade path for CDMA has builit in backwards compatability all the way back to the first CDMA handsets, now you are right and people dont use phones that long, but if they wanted to, they can. There will be a day when GSM and TDMA is turned off to clear the spectrum for WCDMA handests. For CDMA networks, that is done dynamicly, on the fly, the network will allocate spectrum according to what handests are being used. (acording to what I have read anyway)
     
  22. charlyee

    charlyee Ultimate Insanity
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    You are correct ofcourse. I did not explain very clearly why CDMA signal travels twice as far as GSM. Viewfly did a much better job of this in his post right after mine.

    The fact remains though that GSM signal travels approximately half that of CDMA. I think the nos. are something like 35km and 110 km? In reality as you know GSM is a standard that uses TDMA technology where as CDMA is a technology. So comparing GSM to CDMA is like the proverbial apples to oranges comparison...LOL. Here are some standard and Technology Information:

    STANDARDS-------TECHNOLOGY IT USES
    AMPS-------Analog
    GSM--------TDMA
    IS-136------TDMA
    IS-95-------CDMA
    CdmaONE-------CDMA

    Ok I will get off my soap box and quit now:)
     
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  23. viewfly

    viewfly Mobile RF Advisor
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    I guess middle america means western states to me. It will be just a manner of time, GSM is still pretty new in the us. I don't know all the detail reasons, but search in these forums and I'm sure others will tell you.

    In some places, where Verizon is already "there", it is really analog. My GAIT phone has analog and I have much better coverage with it than TMDA or GSM in fringe areas. My GAit map covers as much as Verizon. Both providers hope that someday these networks will go digital.

    Analog has a longer range than CDMA too, for similiar, but not exactly the same reasons. In the outbacks of Austrailia, CDMA @ 450Mhz was compared to Analog and, although it did not go as far, had better quality than analog(at a higher freq.) before it cut off.

    For clarity, it is not that lower frequencies go farther, but rather get absorbed less than then some higher frequencies. Light from stars are gigahertz and travel light years in free space, but when that light hits our atmosphere some parts of it get absorbed heavily by water in our sky.
     
    #83 viewfly, Nov 18, 2004
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2004
  24. viewfly

    viewfly Mobile RF Advisor
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    I could have kept my TDMA 850Mhz only web less phone, but that would have really impacted my coverage and features. I doubt that anyone will want to keep an old CMDA single freq phone and miss all the new high speed, coverage and features add on's.

    That was my meaning.
     
  25. viewfly

    viewfly Mobile RF Advisor
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    These are the numbers I found too. But the practical limits on CDMA seem lower in field tests in several articles I found. One concerning rural areas in Africa:

    Aug. 2004

    "One of the problems network operators in Africa experience is the broad dispersion of people, particularly in rural areas," says Hendrik Bredenkamp, manager: Mobile Systems, Ericsson Market Unit sub-Saharan Africa. "It only makes sense to install a GSM or CDMA base station if there are enough potential customers in the coverage area to make it financially viable in the long term."

    "For operators in this predicament, Ericsson has a solution," says Bredenkamp. "CDMA 450 is a low-frequency version of CDMA (operating at 450 MHz), that offers a larger footprint per base station (about 20% larger than that of a normal GSM base station). Using this technology, operators can expand the limits of their networks."

    Whereas a standard GSM base station covers a radius of about 35 km, the maximum range of a CDMA 450 base station is 49 km. The difference in the number of people now within range is enormous, making even a loss-making coverage area profitable.


    From CDMA 450Mhz for Africa

    35Km = 22 miles
    49Km = 30 miles

    Assuming a clear line of sight between mobile and base plus your stationary and it's a perfect world...

    For me, living in CT, I can lose a signal less than a few miles from a cell tower. :D If I really got that coverage, I would need only 3 towers between my house and NYC :rolleyes:

    P.S. Whoops, forgot that is radius of coverage...I could get by with 2 towers if there were placed correctly...66miles
     
  26. charlyee

    charlyee Ultimate Insanity
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    Hello viewfly,

    Thanks for the great info and link. The CDMA 450Mhz is a very interesting idea. In my case, living in the semi rural part of SE Wisconsin, there is a cell phone tower from all 4 of my providers within close proximity, which is quite amazing but ofcourse great for me. Verizon, unfortunately uses the old 1900 Mhz. transmission and the building penetration is very poor. The only time I get a good signal is when the Verizon phone roams on USCC's 850 Mhz.

    Cingular actually has the best signal at home, closely followed by T-Mobile.

    This thread has been very interesting reading and I look forward to seeing more discussions on this subject.

    PS: I love your Avatar. Do you do fly fishing?
     
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  27. viewfly

    viewfly Mobile RF Advisor
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    Thanks Charlyee. Sure do. You must drink a lot, or too much, coffee, tea or coke ;) . Information and discussion is what these forums are for...not flaming each other.

    I once thought to put a sarcastic footnote that says ' I take the view of a fly on the wall and when I see too much B :censored: S on this forum, I go straight for it!" But I thought the better of it and changed my mind.
     
  28. Andy

    Andy Diamond Senior Member
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    Charlyee, what exactly do you mean by this? 800vs. 1900 has nothing to do with old or not or am I misreading your post??? It's just the different frequency used.
    ~Andy
     
  29. charlyee

    charlyee Ultimate Insanity
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    Hi Andy, what I meant was that in WI, Verizon uses the 1900 Mhz left by a very old cell company Primeco, and is very unreliable. Here is the complete details in the post by "mwseifert"

    http://forums.wirelessadvisor.com/showthread.php?t=5167.

    Sorry for the confusion.
     
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