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CDMA vs. GSM: What's the Difference? | Good or Bad ?

As a consumer, you should know that what difference between both technologies is.  First of all you need to understand, there are three different access technologies. FDMA, TDMA and CDMA

Here I will try to explain the difference between the two in most non technical way, so that you can easily understand.

Suppose you have got 100 people to sing and you want to record them singing without any interference. You can do it in three ways.

1st way: All the 100 people are allocated different rooms and they can sing at same time and get recording done without interference. This technique is called FDMA.
FDMA: By this technology, to make them "speak" with different voices: using different frequencies and this is called FDMA. (Frequency Division Multiple Access)

2nd way: All the 100 people stay in the same room and sing one after another in queue. This way everyone will be recorded without interference because they are not singing simultaneously. This is TDMA.
TDMA:  By this technology, to make them "speak" one after the other and it's called TDMA. (Time Division Multiple Access)

3rd way: All the 100 people sing simultaneously and in the same room. But, they sing in different languages so that they can be identified later without any interference.
This is CDMA. Code Division Multiple Access.
CDMA: By this technology, To make them speaks on the same frequency and in the same time but....the signal is encoded specifically with a code allowing to distinct the users.

GSM : (Global System for Mobile) is world standard and CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) use different technology of radio access.

Differences in Voice: 

GSM technology is combination of FDMA and TDMA. Meaning, the 100 people who want to communicate can be divided into five groups of 20 each in different rooms where they can communicate one after another in a queue.  In GSM one physical channel can be used for 7 simultaneous calls, each in its timeslot. So GSM is TDMA technology (Time Division Multiply Access).

CDMA (IS-95 or CDMAOne) can use one physical channel for 55 simultaneous calls. Each call has its own code for access and all 55 codes can be used in the same time.  The main advantage of CDMA systems is their spectral efficiency. CDMA allows serving more subscribers than GSM. Also wider frequency band allows using better codec’s for voice.  By the way, UMTS is a 3rd generation of GSM networks also uses Code Division Multiple Access.

Now you have understood differences between these three techniques.

Differences in Internet:
There is also difference using internet in GSM and CDMA technology.

GSM uses:
GPRS (general packet radio service),
EDGE (Enhanced data rates for GSM evolution),
WCDMA (Wideband Code division Multiple Access or 3G),
LTE (Long team evolution or 4G)

CDMA technology uses EVDO (evolution of data only) cdmaone and CDMA2000 (3G equivalent) technology for internet. CDMA currently does not support both voice and data simultaneously. It means CDMA doesn't allow having a call and using data at same time. For eg. You can't use Google Maps while on a call or vice versa.
CDMA vs. GSM: What's the Difference? | Good or Bad ?

You can compare features of CDMA vs GSM here:

Features (Compare)
Best Voice Quality

Best Internet Speed

Switching Phones frequently

Switching Operators frequently

International Roaming

Simultaneous Voice and internet

Best Terrif plans

Best Coverage / Network


Now you have understood these techniques in GSM and CDMA.

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