Is My iPhone GSM or CDMA? Is There a Difference?

Is my iPhone GSM or CDMA? Many customers ask this question after their purchase but it’s important to understand basic difference between GSM technology and CDMA prior to buying your new smartphone model. The simple acronyms can affect your mobile experience as these are two different radio technologies.

We are here to answer your questions and explain what the difference is between GSM vs CDMA. Is it important? Sure, it is since CDMA iPhones don’t work with GSM carriers and vice versa. Let’s get into details.

Difference b/w GSM and CDMA

Once you understand all the information about both radio technologies you’ll know why it is important to pay attention to your new smartphone model. GSM stands for Global System for Mobiles while CDMA stands for Code Division Multiple Access. Both options serve the same goal. They transmit text, data and voice between mobile devices and both work wirelessly.

USA Mobile Network GSM CDMA details

GSM vs CDMA Comparison

It’s easier to understand if your current iPhone model GSM or CDMA by the carrier you are using. If you have AT&T or T-Mobile network in the USA you own GSM smartphone. If you are subscribed to Sprint or Verizon U.S. carrier your iPhone is CDMA one.

There are some other differences as well. Thus, CDMA networks might not allow you talking and sending SMS messages at the same time [learn how to fix no SIM iPhone problems] and GSM standard allows talking and surfing the web simultaneously. Still GSM companies also have their pros and cons.

Your GSM phone will work on any GSM carrier as long as you have it unlocked [learn how to SIM unlock iPhone T-Mobile or AT&T to use with other companies] and supports the carrier’s band.

GSM gadgets support SIM cards that store phone number and contacts. Unlocked users can easily switch SIMs or insert their original card into a different phone and use it. Locked customers have to factory unlock their smartphone before they can move to a different carrier.

Most CDMA companies rely on their server-based phone numbers instead of using SIM cards. They can control you a bit more than GSM networks. At the same time, in case the SIM is misplaced your service will still work. When you decide to switch companies you have to get your current and new network’s permission and approve.

GSM vs CDMA iPhone

CDMA or GSM Which Is Better

Experts believe that CDMA technology is a better secured than GSM. It also has less number of dropped phone calls and slow downloads. At the same time its popular Evolution Data Optimized speed reaches up to 3.6Mbps while GSM carriers can in theory offer up to 42Mbps speed.

Different mobile operators use different bands (also called frequencies) for transmitting voice, text and data. Some companies do share bands still others don’t. Thus even if you have GSM device it might not work with a different GSM carrier if its band is not compatible or only partially compatible.

Many modern devices start to support LTE or Long-Term Evolution technology. It offers more advantages than older networks and many LTE-gadgets work amazingly well on any LTE band. This is better for customer who has many choices of what carrier to use and when to switch networks without having to ask for permission or buy a new phone model.

LTE is definitely quicker than both GSM and CDMA. This network is also more reliable and most world networks are using this standard nowadays.

All iPhone Models GSM CDMA 6s 6 5s 4 5

How to Know iPhone GSM or CDMA

Not much difficult is here. You need to know your model in order to figure out which device you own or are planning to purchase. Since modern devices are mostly using LTE standard and can work with any carrier, older phone users are the ones who need to know all the details [we won’t mention the old original iPhone and 3G since it’s unlikely you will buy these second-hand ‘retro’ gadgets].

GSM only iPhone models list:

  • iPhone 5 model A1428
  • iPhone 4S model A1531 released for Chinese market years ago
  • iPhone 4 model A1332
  • iPhone 3GS model A1325 offered in Chinese market years ago
  • iPhone 3GS model A1303

CDMA only iPhone model:

  • iPhone 4 model A1349

Both iPhone GSM or CDMA devices:

  • iPhone 5 model A1429
  • iPhone 4S model A1387

You can find your particular model numbers through Settings – General – About – Network or Carrier.

You can find details about all new Apple smartphones on the company’s iPhone website. We’ll just note that iPhone 6 locked to AT&T, Verizon or T-Mobile cannot be used on Sprint network due to its special LTE bands. At the same time once you SIM unlock Sprint iPhone 6 you’ll be able to insert any SIM card including AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon.

iPhone 6s Models CDMA or GSM

iPhone 6S GSM or CDMA

Both iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus models support all LTE networks in the USA and globally. Nothing to worry about when you purchase one of these devices. Your iPhone 6s will support LTE for major American carriers (AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon and Sprint) as well as hundreds of other networks both inside and outside the country.

iPhone SE GSM or CDMA

It’s curious that none of the two iPhone SE versions you can buy in the USA work on all 4 major local networks. For example, iPhone SE model A1662 will not work with Sprint U.S. carrier nor it will work with networks in Canada or Russia. This particular device supports AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile. It happens because A1662 supports only some LTE bands with exception of Sprint band 41 and some other bands.

iPhone SE model A1723 works with Sprint and T-Mobile however it doesn’t work on Verizon and might have problems with AT&T.

iPhone SE CDMA or GSM

Experts say that if you live in the USA but travel to Europe you should choose older GSM phone or new LTE device. Latest generation ‘fruit’ handsets work with global LTE networks so you can buy iPhone 6s, 6s Plus, LTE and upcoming iPhone 7 without any worries.

Apple News

Apple News

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