Which technology do different carriers use?

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

Match carriers with their technology

Different cell phone carriers use different technology to deliver your calls and data. They all try to convince you they are the best, which is understandable.

All current technology achieves the same goal, routing your voice and data transmissions from origin to receiver. They accomplish this objective with different transmission methods and protocols, but all seem to work successfully.

Here is the menu of major carriers in the U.S. and the technology they use:

Wireless carrier Technology
Sprint/Nextel CDMA (Sprint)/iDEN (Nextel)
AT&T (Cingular) GSM
Verizon Wireless CDMA
T-Mobile GSM
Alltel CDMA
TracFone CDMA
U.S. Cellular CDMA
Virgin Mobile CDMA

There are many smaller wireless carriers, using both GSM and CDMA, in the U.S. The majority of cell phone carriers in Europe use GSM technology. Wireless providers in all countries publish the networks they use and data on the number of subscribers they service. This information is available from a variety sources over the Internet.

The differences in technology are typically “transparent” to the average user. If you frequently travel outside the U.S., you might consider a wireless carrier that uses GSM technology, as it is considered to be the global standard, particularly in Europe. Yet, other popular technologies, like CDMA and iDEN, are also used in many countries and territories.

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