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Old 27th Jan 2001, 07:17   #1 (permalink)
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Question Mobile Phones - GSM vs CDMA vs PCS - Help required

Slightly off the track of the internet, but can anyone point me to the right information.

I need an explanation of the differences in the different mobile phone technologies, and an understanding of where in the world they are in use so I can buy a phone with the max possible roaming coverage.

I am familiar with dual band GSM, works OK throughout Europe and quite a bit of Asia, Australia and Africa. Tri-band GSM is supposed to extend into USA, but not sure of coverage.

But no GSM coverage in Korea or Japan, for example.

Is there anything that spans the world?

Old 27th Jan 2001, 16:19   #2 (permalink)
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GSM ("Global System for Mobiles" - or something similar in French!) is the international system. I have used my dual-band mobile in Europe, Mid-East, Singapore and Aussie.

CDMA, PCS is N.America's "as usual, we're different" local system (like NTSC vs. PAL )

N. America also uses GSM these days - but as one would expect, the use a different frequency band ( ) "The Rest of the World" uses 900MHz and 1800MHz but the DammYanks decided to use 1900! This is why you need a "tri-band" if you want to use the GSM there.

Now I got myself a Motorola Timeport, which is a "tri-band" - which was delivered to me the day after I got back from my last USA trip (oh well!)

Your coverage, world-wide, will depend on your service provider and who they "partner with" overseas (so check before you make a commitment!) and you will pay a pound or two more per month to have "roaming".

If you look at the coverage map (from your service provider) of North America, it initially looks as though there is not much cover - until you look in detail and see that most of the bits not covered are the bits where only cows live! (and my daughter lives in Philly, with a phone from Sprint, and went to complain that she is always "out of coverage" only to find that the Sprint office in the middle of Philly was "out of coverage!!!)

My provider's (I use one2one in UK) partners (6 different ones in USA) cover most of the E. Coast cities from BOS down to South East, the major cities throughout USA plus the major cities in Canada (at least along the North side of the geat lakes up to Montreal) - I suspect that's as much as you can hope for) Can't quote Korea or Japan, as one2one's "roaming guide" does not include these countries at the moment - maybe another provider has partners there so check which countries you want and which provider gives you the best "basket"!.

What Goes Around . . . . .
. . often makes a better landing
Old 28th Jan 2001, 22:18   #3 (permalink)
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Red face

Not only N.America uses CDMA. In S.America (Brazil in my case) my mobile was TDMA but my provider wasn't the best so I changed to one that worked with CDMA (oh and the old analog system still works too there!)Also check your phone in the US because I think they work with TDMA too.
Here in Holland I bought one tri-band , but wasn't exactly because of the choice of using it in the US ,it was really the price.Very cheap phone with good capabilitys (not [email protected]).
Old 31st Jan 2001, 16:48   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks for the info guys.

Anyone know anything about S. Korea or Japan?

Anyone can point me to a web site?
Old 31st Jan 2001, 23:44   #5 (permalink)
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Check out www.gsm.org for gsm coverage information

If you get a GSM phone you might find it cheaper to buy a local SIM card for it then to use roaming on your home carrier.

Old 31st Jan 2001, 23:52   #6 (permalink)
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I have one of the new Motorola Timeport TI250's and it's lovely for GSM use. GSM/PCN/PCS 900/1800/1900 for true triple band operation. I used my previous L7089 Timeport on a trip to the US 2 years back, just after the phone was launched. Worked a treat roaming with One2One in the outbacks of Oklahoma and Alabama, as well as at airports en-route at Detroit and Memphis.

Mine also has the advantage of not being SP locked, so I can throw in any SIM from any provider and it works...! Buy a pay-as-you go on a US network while you're there, throw the SIM in and don't pay the astronomical roaming rates...!!! Okay, so long as you don't need same number...

Aq (edited to correct glaring typo)

[This message has been edited by AquaPlane (edited 31 January 2001).]
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