UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) is a 3G standard for wireless communication. The two are related but very different. UMTS is a CDMA-based system that uses a frequency band that is much wider than those of GSM. The two networks use different types of base stations and frequency allocations. Each system requires new base stations and new radio waves for operation.
GSM uses FDMA technology. FDMA breaks a radio frequency band into multiple channels and time slots so that different users can send and receive information simultaneously. This technology can handle many different types of mobile phones and is very popular. CDMA and UMTS both use spread spectrum technologies. UMTS is a hybrid of the two. The difference is the way in which the networks transmit information.
In the past, switching phone meant contacting the carrier and telling them the new one. With UMTS, however, the carriers link the phone’s serial number to the network. This means they can control which phones are available on their network. Additionally, you can’t bring the phone with you if you wanted to use it on another network. In addition, you can’t take a CDMA phone with you to another GSM carrier if you had a GSM one.
UMTS supports a wideband CDMA network. Its maximum theoretical data transfer rate is 42 Mbit/s, with HSPA+ and release ’99 handsets supporting up to 384 kbit/s each. Both systems have a long way to go, so don’t be afraid to upgrade your phone! Its future is bright. And you can be assured that UMTS is the future of cellular technology.