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GSM vs. CDMA (what's better?)
Topic Started: January 26, 2010, 1:44 pm (4,897 Views)
arlworthy

Many moons ago (about the time Cingular and ATT merged), in a job far, far away, I had to research and figure out
what cell phones to get for our mobile employees and learned the difference between the GSM and CDMA phones.

I have to admit to having more and more senior moments, and can't recall which is best... nor why. I've noticed some
topics about new phones and see that Tracfone has some of each. Can one of you knowledgeable folks give me the
cliff notes version?... And how does one tell if a phone is CDMA or GSM?

arl
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AKmaro1
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This could entail a long discussion, but I'll boil down one or two highpoints. Easy way to tell if it's a GSM or CDMA is
by the SIM card (Subscriber Identitiy Module). If it has a SIM card it's a GSM, if it doesn't it's a CDMA. CDMA's tend to
run on Verizon and Sprints Networks, GSM runs on AT&T and T-Mobile... Coverage is another hotly debated issue,
but tends to boil down to where you live. GSM is king in Europe and most of the rest of the World, so if you travel over
seas, you tend to want a GSM phone.

Personally I think the best sound quality I've heard tends to be with my GSM Moto 370g, soon to be a 376 model.
But Turk seems to like his new LG (rating a 9 out of 10, the 10 being his old Moto 376 GSM), so sound again is a
personal issue.

So I hope that helps with some of the high points between the phones, I'm sure someone else will chime in with
other opinions soon enough...
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Turk
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TuRk WoRld OrdEr
* arlworthy ..... you said: "many moons ago"? ..... geez, how old are you!? ..... (lol) ..... just kidding .. ^_^

* AKmaro1 did a pretty good job explaining the differences between the two ... but here is my 2 cents worth...
- and believe you me, it's only worth 2 cents. (lol)

* Both services are good, it all depends on where you live really ... some places get better reception on one than the other.

* CDMA (Verizon) I feel is better, but that's just me - it pretty much covers the whole country now, where as GSM (AT&T) is alittle spotty.

* I've owned Tracfones that ran on both Services ... but I never had a "Dead Spot" with CDMA Tracfones...
- where as I did have a few "Dead Spots" with GSM Tracfones.

* I also like how CDMA Tracfones don't deal with SIM cards ... you can activate and reactivate them over and over
- and you never have to worry about getting a new SIM card everytime you want to reactivate them.

* Tracfone seems to push GSM Tracfones more than CDMA Tracfones - the "rumor" is that AT&T gives Tracfone a
- better deal than Verizon does ... I dont' know if that's true, but that's what people seem to say?

* Tracfone seems to put out their GSM Phones in the Spring ... and their CDMA Phones in the Fall.

* Here is the most recent list of CDMA and GSM Tracfones:

CDMA Tracfones
* Motorola 120
* Motorola C343
* LG 3280
* Nokia 2285
* Nokia 2126
* LG 290C
* LG 220C
* LG 200C
* LG 100C
* Kyocera 126
* Motorola v60i
* Nokia 5180

GSM Tracfones
* Nokia 3390
* Nokia 1100
* Samsung T301G
* Samsung T201G
* Samsung T101G
* Motorola W376
* Motorola W370
* Motorola W260
* Motorola W175
* LG 410G
* Nokia 1112
* Nokia 2600
* Motorola C139
* Motorola C155
* Motorola V170

* You can also go to Tracfone.com and look under their (GSM/CDMA) Coverage Map of the Country as well.

* All in all, both Service are good, it just depends on where you live and what you prefer I guess.

* Hope we were able to help you out some - and if anyone else has anything to offer, feel free to post it here, thanks.

* Ps: AKmaro1 ..... I don't like my new LG 290c ..... I Love it !!! ..... Woooooooooo! (lol) ;)


LG Turk B-)
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The Sweeper
Bad To The Bone.
AKmaro1
January 26, 2010, 4:31 pm
This could entail a long discussion, but I'll boil down one or two highpoints. Easy way to tell if it's a GSM or CDMA is
by the SIM card (Subscriber Identitiy Module). If it has a SIM card it's a GSM, if it doesn't it's a CDMA. CDMA's tend to
run on Verizon and Sprints Networks, GSM runs on AT&T and T-Mobile... Coverage is another hotly debated issue,
but tends to boil down to where you live. GSM is king in Europe and most of the rest of the World, so if you travel over
seas, you tend to want a GSM phone.

Personally I think the best sound quality I've heard tends to be with my GSM Moto 370g, soon to be a 376 model.
But Turk seems to like his new LG (rating a 9 out of 10, the 10 being his old Moto 376 GSM), so sound again is a
personal issue.

So I hope that helps with some of the high points between the phones, I'm sure someone else will chime in with
other opinions soon enough...
I do not think that Trac/Net10 runs on Sprint's network. It's my understanding that they utilize Verizon's and US
Cellular's networks. Sprint has about 15,462 MVNO's that use their network, but I don't believe that Tracfone is
one of them.
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AKmaro1
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O.k. if that's true than that's good to know. I was actually just giving an overview of companies that use the different
technologies, but I did also believe that "mirror providers" like Tracfone utilized the networks of several providers
for their service, not just limiting themselves to one company...
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dave940
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Turk
January 27, 2010, 2:12 am
* CDMA (Verizon) I feel is better, but that's just me - it pretty much covers the whole country now, where
as GSM (AT&T) is a little spotty.

* I've owned Tracfones that ran on both Services ... but I never had a "Dead Spot" with CDMA Tracfones...
- where as I did have a few "Dead Spots" with GSM Tracfones.
I agree with Turk, but can't go that far on the superiority of CDMA. I have seen a couple of places in my travels
(rural West Virginia in particular) where AT&T had the only coverage in a given area. But, I have been in many
more areas where US Cellular or Verizon was the only game around, and a GSM phone was useless... my zip
code is an example. Here, AT&T does not seem to be willing to invest in smaller markets.

Given one choice, I'd go with CDMA... but for those of you who intend to travel in areas where you do not know
the coverage, you'd be wise to carry both GSM and CDMA for emergency coverage.
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AKmaro1
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dave940
February 14, 2010, 10:14 am
Given one choice, I'd go with CDMA ... but for those of you who intend to travel in areas where you do not
know the coverage, you'd be wise to carry both GSM and CDMA for emergency coverage.
Smart advice .. B-)
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dave940
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AKmaro1
February 14, 2010, 5:19 pm
dave940
February 14, 2010, 10:14 am
Given one choice, I'd go with CDMA ... but for those of you who intend to travel in areas where you do not
know the coverage, you'd be wise to carry both GSM and CDMA for emergency coverage.
Smart advice .. B-)
I suppose, if you really want to to cheap, you wouldn't have to activate either phone... just carry two deactivated
TracFones of each flavor for 911 calls ... but the better option would be to have one with active service, and of
course the best would be active service on both. ;)
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AKmaro1
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Along those same lines of thought, you could have a situation where you and your spouse or significant other,
each had a different type of phone... I know for a short while me and my GF had one CDMA and one GSM.

So when we went out of town we could see how the coverage was. But honestly we never noticed really any
differences between the two in our area, even when we went up to Toronto the one Summer. I think we might
have seen stronger signal strength with the GSM in most areas if I remember correctly, but I don't think we ever
lost signal with either...

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gdsmit1

In my area, all Tracfones are GSM ... Unfortunately, AT&T doesn't have as good coverage as Verizon.

Can I put in a zip code for a CDMA only area, buy a phone from them and activate it in my area?
I know they ask where it is primarily used, will I have any issues using it?

Any problems porting my current Tracfone GSM phone number over?
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Turk
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TuRk WoRld OrdEr
gdsmit1:
 
In my area, all Tracfones are GSM ... Unfortunately, AT&T doesn't have as good coverage as Verizon.
* gdsmit1 .... I hear ya brother ... same here in my area ... Verizon rules but they push that GSM crap.
gdsmit1:
 
Can I put in a zip code for a CDMA only area, buy a phone from them and activate it in my area?
* Yes.
gdsmi1:
 
I know they ask where it is primarily used, will I have any issues using it?
* No.
gdsmit:
 
Any problems porting my current Tracfone GSM phone number over?
* No.

* Good luck, and let us know how you make out if you decide to buy a CDMA phone .. ;)


Turk + Verizon = Awesome! B-)
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gdsmit1

I put in a CDMA only zip code, 85541. Unfortunately the only phone I'd have any interest in is the LG 501c.
And that's still not what I want, it has just a VGA camera... I also looked over on Net10 and they have the
R355c, but that's still not really all that great.

Straight Talk has the LG 511c, that thing looks pretty awesome, but the thing that I love about Tracfone is I
don't have to spend $30 or $45 a month for the service. Last time I added time, I did a 1 year card for $99.
I don't mind paying $10 a month for service, but can't justify $30.

Although I do see that Straight Talk does have a GSM phone that's Android powered. That's kind of tempting.

I guess I'll have to stick to GSM.
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