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What Are CDMA Smartphones?

Two people using CDMA smartphones.
A CDMA smartphone.
A woman using a CDMA smartphone.
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  • Written By: Marco Perez
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 14 November 2014
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Code-Division Multiple Access (CDMA) smartphones are cellular phones that use CDMA digital wireless technology. Several major cell phone networks in the United States employ CDMA technology. A competing technology, Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM), is also a popular cell phone technology in the U.S. and abroad.

CDMA differs from other technologies in that a base station mobile phone tower has no cut-off point for number of users until the station decides call quality might suffer. CDMA uses what is known as "spread spectrum" technology. Put simply, a radio signal is divided, coded, and scattered over a wider range of frequencies than the original signal. The divided signal is then recombined once it reaches the receiver, based on the unique code assigned to each user's signal. Among some of the benefits, this allows for greater system capacity and increased security and privacy.

There are other notable differences. One is that, with CDMA smartphones, the phone number is normally associated with the mobile telephone unit itself. With GSM technology, the phone number is associated with a removable subscriber identification module (SIM) card that must be used.

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CDMA smartphones and the accompanying technology have been in commercial use since 1995. The first CDMA technology, known as Interim Standard 95 (IS-95) was developed by Qualcomm® under the brand name cdmaOne®. It is considered a 2G, or second-generation wireless telephone technology. The Qualcomm® standard IS-2000, otherwise known as CDMA2000®, is the 3G or third-generation technology used by most CDMA smartphones in 2011, though there were several variants of CDMA2000® technology in use as well.

CDMA smartphones typically have features such as multimedia messaging, video, high-speed Internet access and digital cameras. E-mail capability, QWERTY keyboard functionality, mobile television, and video conferencing are some other features that are available. This ability to offer more computing and connectivity functions than a basic feature phone is what distinguishes CDMA smartphones from basic mobile phones.

They are effectively computers — albeit smaller than laptop or desktop computers — that run operating system software that allows for the development of applications, or apps. These are software programs that can be downloaded from the Internet and used on the smartphone. There are literally tens of thousands of smartphone apps available that perform numerous varied tasks, including banking, weather forecasting, social networking and gaming.

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anon348300
Post 2

Will any cdma smartphone work on Assurance wireless?

anon312075
Post 1

Will a cdma phone bought in the US work in India?

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