LTE vs GSM: Difference and Comparison

Today, mobile phones play an integral role in everybody’s life. With smartphones coming, a lot changed in the communication market, with voice call being one of the significant advancements.


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The mobile communication ecosystem’s growth has made the voice call process so simple and swift. 

Since the beginning, mobile networks have made continuous changes and advancements to overcome all barriers like quality, capability and security.

The innovation of mobile networks has led to advancements from the first generation (1G) of mobile networks to the fifth generation (5G).

LTE and GSM are different kinds of technologies used in phones for connection purposes.

Key Takeaways

  1. LTE (Long-Term Evolution) is a high-speed wireless communication standard for mobile devices and data terminals, providing improved data rates, latency, and capacity compared to earlier technologies.
  2. GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) is an older digital cellular network standard that supports voice calls, text messaging, and low-speed data transmission.
  3. LTE and GSM are wireless communication standards, but LTE is a high-speed standard for mobile devices with better data rates and capacity. At the same time, GSM is an older standard primarily for voice calls and text messaging.


LTE means Long Term Evolution, and it is a fourth-generation communication standard that is used for wireless broadband communication between mobile phones. GSM means Global System for Mobile Communications and provides wireless technology for second-generation cellular networks used by mobile devices.

LTE vs GSM 1

Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonLTEGSM
Stands forLong Term EvolutionGlobal System for Mobile Communication
Mainly Used ForMainly used for data callsUsed primarily for voice calls and low-speed data services
Communication StandardFourth-generation (4G)Both second-generation (2G) and third-generation (3G)
TransmissionUses Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) as the signal bearer along with other schemes, Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) and Single Carrier Frequency Division Multiple Access (SC-FDMA).Used Frequency Division Multiple Access(FDMA) and Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA).
Channel Number ReferenceReferred to as EARFCNReferred to as ARFCN.
FeaturesFeatures Supported are MIMO((Multiple Input, Multiple Output), Carrier Aggregation, beamforming and so on.Features Supported areMUROS,VAMOS,SAIC,MSRD


What is LTE?

LTE stands for Long Term Evolution. It is used for all wireless broadband communications in mobile and related devices.

It is a communication standard developed and advanced to ensure high and better performance for all mobile communication systems.

It is designed to ensure ten times better and faster services than the standard third-generation (3G).

The fourth generation (4G) has seen LTE as the last step of radio technological advancements to increase the speed and capacity of mobile networks.

All the generations of mobile telecommunications before LTE fall under the categories of 2G and 3G whereas LTE falls under the category of 4G. LTE is an upgrade for all carriers with GSM networks.

 LTE has increased its capacity and speed by using a different radio interface along with significant network improvements.

LTE gives IP-based communication for both voice and multimedia. There is an algorithm which enables LTE to be able to send large amounts of data via IP.

This, in turn, helps to streamline the traffic and minimizes any latency being caused.

Since LTE has multiple frequencies and bands in various countries, it implies that only phones with multi-band can use LTE.

lte 1

What is GSM?

GSM stands for Global System for Mobile Communications. It provides wireless technology to describe the protocols for second-generation cellular networks used by various mobile devices.

It first came into existence in the 1970s, and later, by 2010, it became popular all around the globe and occupied 90% of the market share.

Today, GSM is supported by over one billion mobile subscribers in around 210 countries worldwide.

It is used to transmit mobile voice and data services and is the most commonly used standard in telecommunication. It provides various services, from essential to advanced agent and data services.

It also provides roaming services, meaning a GSM phone number can be used in any other GSM network.

GSM makes use of digitization and compression of data. It then sends it via a channel with two other streams of user data – both of which have a different timeslot at a rate between 64 and 120 kbps.

The frequency band that GSM operates is at either 900 megahertz or 1800 megahertz. The technique used by GSM technology to transmit data is TDMA(Time Division Multiple Access)


Main Differences Between LTE and GSM

  1. LTE is used to provide high-speed data and voice call services, whereas GSM is used to offer low-speed data and voice call services.
  2. LTE uses the fourth-generation (4G) communication standard, whereas GSM uses both the second-generation(2G) as well as third-generation(3G).
  3. LTE uses Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) as the signal bearer, along with other bearers. In contrast, GSM uses Frequency Division Multiple Access (FDMA) and Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA).
  4. LTE processes information using various transportation, logical and physical channels, whereas GSM processes information through physical and logical channels.
  5. In LTE, frequency bands between 1-25 are used for FDD, while the ones between 33-41 are used for TDD, whereas, in GSM, two frequency bands – 900 MHz and 1800 MHz are used as GSM 900 and DCS 1800.
Difference Between LTE and GSM

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