Today there are two major standards for cell phone technology. CDMA and GSM. Almost all phones in the United States operate on either of these networks. However, the average person tends to be unfamiliar with these terms. Common cell phone service providers like Verizon and Sprint use CDMA technology, while carriers like T-Mobile, and Cingular operate on the GSM network.
CDMA stands for Code Division Multiple Access, but was originally known as IS-95. Qualcomm was the first to created this technology and by 1993 it was adopted by the Telecommunication Industry Association. Later this technology was enhanced and refined by Ericsson.
Since the development of CDMA technology there has been many new releases and platforms. The original CDMA is now referred to as CDMAone. Several different variants of CDMA technology been developed continuously improving quality and data transfer speeds. Third generation CDMA technology, commonly referred to as CDMA2000 encompasses a wide variety of different standards, each continually improving upon the first including; 1X EV, 1XEV-DO, and MC 3X. CDMA2000 is the current standard used by most US carriers today. The first release of CDMA2000 was refereed to as either 3G1X, 1XRTT, or 1X. Designed to provide data transmissions of ten times faster then the previous technology and double the voice capacity of CDMAone.
As stated above, Verizon Wireless operates on the CDMA network. Depending on the phone you have and its capabilities you will notice symbols in the default screen of your phone reading either 1X, 1XEV-DO or some variation of the two. This symbol defines the CDMA2000 standards your phone is operating on. Newer phones will display EV or EV-DO using the newer faster, more reliable CDMA technology.
Enhanced data transfer provides for the new technologies released by companies like Verizon. Including data transfer for files, music, games and the Internet.
WCDMA technology, standing for Wideband Code Division Multiple access, is the most developed and advanced form of the third generation CDMA2000 technology. It encompasses higher data transfer rates and provides wireless connections in markets world wide. Many existing GSM 2G (GSM/GPRS) operators have slowly began the switch to using WCDMA technology.
Qualcomm the original developer of CDMA owns patents of this technology. They have granted royalty-bearing licenses to over 100 network operators. The chart below displays the number of operators, vendors, subscribers and countries each technology is used in.
| ||CDMA 1X ||CDMA 1X2000 1XEV-DO ||WCDMA |
|Subscribers ||33,000,000 ||193,000,000 ||56,000,000 |
|Operators ||33 ||98 ||101 |
|Countries ||20 ||48 ||44 |
|Vendors ||25 ||57 ||22 |