Difference Between LTE and GSM (With Table)

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

The growth in the mobile communication ecosystem has made the process of voice calls so simple and swift.  Since the very 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 the advancements from the first generation (1G) of mobile networks to the fifth-generation (5G).

LTE and GSM are both different kinds of technologies that are used in phones for connection purpose.


The difference between LTE and GSM is basically in the manner that they transmit and receive information.  LTE (Long Term Evolution) is a fourth-generation (4G) communication standard while GSM (Global System for Mobile Communication) is a second-generation (2G) as well as third-generation (3G) cellular mobile phone system.


Comparison Table Between LTE and GSM (in Tabular Form)

Parameter of ComparisonLTEGSM
Stands forLong Term EvolutionGlobal System for Mobile Communication
Mainly Used ForMainly used for data callsMainly used 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 both 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 mobiles and other related devices. It is a communication standard that has developed and advanced over time, to ensure high and better performance for all mobile communication systems.

It is designed in a manner that ensures 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 with an aim to increase the speed as well as the capacity of mobile networks.

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

 LTE has increased the capacity and its speed by making use of a different radio interface along with major 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 kind of latency being caused.

Since LTE has multiple frequencies and bands, in various countries, it implies that only those phones that have multi-band are able to use LTE.


What is GSM?

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

It first came into existence in the 1970s and later, by 2010 it become popular all around the globe and occupying 90% of the market share. In today’s date, GSM is supported in more than one billion mobile subscribers in around 210 countries throughout the world.

It is used to transmit mobile voice and data services and is the most commonly used standard in telecommunication. It provides various services, from basic to advanced voice and data services. It also provides roaming services, which means that 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 which is at a rate between 64 kbps and 120 kbps.

The frequency band that GSM operates is at either 900 megahertz or at 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 services as well as voice call services whereas, GSM is used to provide low-speed data services 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 makes use of Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) as the signal bearer along with other bearers whereas GSM makes uses of both 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.



With the advent of technology, there has been a tremendous amount of change in the manner how communications take place and how data is exchanged. LTE and GSM are basically the most commonly used kind of technologies in mobile devices, like phones, tablets and so on.

LTE is mainly what the next generation of wireless technology is for the system of cellular mobile communication while GSM can be termed as the traditional radio communication system in the mobiles. The main area of distinction between the two is that LTE and high speed go hand in hand. LTE supports only data whereas both cellular and data are supported by GSM.

People usually trust LTE when high-speed internet is needed and tend to trust GSM mainly for performing voice calls. LTE is able to provide personal broadband services which do not depend on the location of the user. This, however, is not possible in GSM. However, despite the various factors, GSM is the most widely and commonly used wireless technology.


  1. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/7553613/
  2. https://digital-library.theiet.org/content/journals/10.1049/el.2013.0495
2D vs 3D