WCDMA vs GSM: Difference and Comparison

WCDMA stands for Wideband Code Division Multiple Access, and GSM stands for Global System for Mobile Communication. Both are mobile communication standards that are used in mobile networks to keep up all communications between mobiles.

Key Takeaways

  1. WCDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access) is a 3G mobile communication standard that provides higher data transfer rates and improved voice quality compared to GSM.
  2. GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) is an older, 2G mobile communication standard widely used for voice calls and limited data services.
  3. WCDMA and GSM are mobile communication technologies, but WCDMA is a more advanced standard, offering improved data speeds and voice quality compared to GSM.

WCDMA vs GSM

WCDMA is a 3G (Third Generation) cellular technology that uses code division multiplexing for data transmission. It also provides faster data rates and improved voice quality. GSM is a 2G (Second Generation) cellular technology that uses time division multiplexing for data transmission.

Wcdma vs Gsm 1

GSM is a technology that is used in 2G mobile networks. It is mobile communication that has another manner of working.

WCDMA is a technology used in 3G mobile networks and helps hold all mobile communications. These communications can include text messages, voice calls, or data transfers.

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Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonWCDMAGSM
NetworkWCDMA is a technology that is used in 3G mobile networks.GSM is used in 2G mobile networks and came into existence much before the WCDMA.
SpeedThe speed and efficiency are better in WCDMA. This is because of the technology that is used in the network.The speed and efficiency are not up to the mark in GSM compared to WCDMA.
UseWCDMA is used worldwide, so if you use a mobile with WCDMA support, there won’t be any issues in switching to different networks.GSM evolved in Europe, and so it is mainly used there. Hence phones with GSM may be suitable in other regions.
Year of first useWCDMA was first introduced in 2001.GSM was first introduced in 1991.
Area of CoverageThe area of coverage for WCDMA is more.The area of coverage for GSM is less.

 

What is WCDMA?

WCDMA, which stands for Wideband Code Division Multiple Access, is a communication standard used in 3G mobile networks. It helps to support all mobile communications by using radiofrequency.

It also allows the network providers the capability to use broadband internet services. FOMA was the first WCDMA network; it stood for Freedom of Mobile Multimedia Access and was first started in Japan in 2001.

Today WCDMA is the technology most people prefer because it is better, more advanced and newer. Hence it is being installed in many regions and may soon replace GSM.

Though WCDMA is becoming popular and being used in all mobile devices, a few models do not assist WCDMA. Hence when you buy a new mobile phone, you should always ensure that it supports WCDMA so that you can switch from one network to another.

Features of WCDMA:

  1. It is vital for multiway delays.
  2. It has smooth connectivity worldwide.
  3. The signals of data quality and voice are high.
  4. The error rates are small-scaled.
  5. The high bandwidth of 5 MHz is present.
wcdma
 

What is GSM?

GSM stands for Global System for Mobile Communication. It is a technology used in 2G mobile networks to support all mobile communications.

Presently, GSM is the standard that is most primarily used. It existed way before WCDMA and used radio technology to transfer data. It was first used in 1991 and evolved in Europe.

The speed and efficiency are less in GSM, but it keeps communication going smoothly. It ensures that the messages and calls are carried out properly.

The area of coverage of GSM is less today. It is not much used in phones nowadays.

It can be observed that WCDMA is becoming popular and more common in mobile phones, and soon it will replace and lay off GSM. But today, GSM is the most widely used technology worldwide.

Features of GSM:

  1. The speech quality is high.
  2. To make calls secure, it uses encryption.
  3. It has a Short Message Service. (SMS)
  4. It is compatible with the integrated services digital network (ISDN).
  5. It supports international roaming.
gsm

Main Differences Between WCDMA and GSM

  1. Both were started for Mobile communications, but WCDMA is a technology that is used in 3G mobile networks, whereas GSM is a technology that is used in 2G mobile networks. GSM came into existence much before the WCDMA.
  2. WCDMA is used worldwide, whereas GSM evolved in Europe, so phones that support GSM might not be suitable in other regions.
  3. WCDMA is preferred nowadays since it is newer, more advanced and transfers 3G data faster than 2G data. It covers the area of GSM and is replacing it.
  4. The speed and efficiency are more in WCDMA because of the technology used in this network, whereas the speed in GSM is less.
  5. GSM was first introduced in 1991, whereas WCDMA existed in 2001.
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References
  1. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/938370/
  2. https://pure.tue.nl/ws/files/3096633/Metis220844.pdf
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