What’s the distinction between GSM and CDMA cell phones?

GSM and CDMA are competing for network technologies. Most mobile operators use one or the other. CDMA stands for code division multiple access, while GSM stands for global system for mobile communications.

GSM phones use an interchangeable subscriber identity module cards which identify every phone with a user or phone number. If you would like to change the phones, you can set up your Subscriber Identity Module card at a phone. GSM phones will accept Subscriber Identity Module cards from other carriers. They can be used internationally by substituting the SIM card.

It used to be simple to tell CDMA and GSM apart since GSM phones utilized Subscriber Identity Module cards, while CDMA phones didn’t. Some CDMA phones today use Subscriber Identity Module cards to get access to 4G LTE networks. It is best to ask your provider about your phone to prevent confusion. An unlocked CDMA mobile phone has to be programmed to work with every carrier you use.