Let’s face it. Cellphones are here to stay and you need to know a little something about how they work if you’re going to know which one is right for you. Over at Yahoo! they’ve got a list of some cell phone acronyms that you could learn, thereby increasing your knowledge of the world around you. We know most of our readers are pretty well versed in everything cellphone, but its still worth taking a look.
The most important ones to know?
GSM: “Short for Global System for Mobile Communications, GSM is the most widespread standard for cell phones networks in the world. If you’re a jetsetter who likes keeping in touch during your far-flung travels, you should go with a GSM-enabled phone, and here in the U.S., AT&T and T-Mobile are both GSM carriers. Besides the technical differences between CDMA and GSM networks (I’ll spare you the details), the main distinction of a GSM phone is that it comes with a SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) card.”
CDMA: “Short for Code Division Multiple Access, CDMA networks are much more prevalent in the U.S. than they are abroad, and while CDMA boasts many of the same features as GSM networks (including caller ID, call waiting, and text messaging), there are some key differences–namely, CDMA phones don’t use SIM cards. Instead, your phone’s identity and number are programmed into the handset by your carrier, and you can’t easily switch numbers on CDMA phones as you can with SIM-equipped GSM phones. Also, CDMA phones can only handle three-way conference calls, versus six-way calls on GSM networks. Major CDMA carriers in the U.S. include Sprint, Verizon Wireless, and regional operator Alltel.”
What this means for you: GSM phones can be “unlocked” and used with other carriers. Why is this important? If you have Cingular (AT&T) and want T-Mobile, you can keep your phone. Or, if you want to go to Europe, you can have your phone unlocked and buy a temporary SIM card from a European phone company.
With CDMA, you can’t. Simple as that. —MEGHANN MARCO