What Is a Quad Band Cell Phone?

by Maxwell Payne

A quad band cell phone is a cell phone that can operate on the four major GSM frequencies used by various cell phone service provider networks. A quad band cell phone is beneficial for those who travel often and may need to access cell phone service even when outside their service provider's area.

Many companies that produce cell phones produce quad band cell phones, allowing them to sell their handsets to cell phone service providers across the globe.


There are many types and brands of quad band cell phones on the market. Phones ranging from basic cell phones to fully functional smartphones may use quad band technology. The types of frequency bands that a quad band phone can access are 850 and 1900 MHz bands which are commonly used in the Americas. 900 and 1800 MHz bands are commonly used in other parts of the world such as Asia and Europe. A quad band phone can potentially function on all of these bands.


Quad band cell phones have a distinct advantage over dual band and tri band cell phones. Since there are four major GSM frequencies used by cell phone service providers across the globe, a dual or tri band cell phone might only work on two or three of those bands. The quad band phone has the ability to work on any of the four frequency bands as long as the cell phone service provider has an agreement with the network owner of the other networks.


Owning a quad band phone does not ensure that the user will automatically be able to use the phone on any band in any part of the world. The user's cell phone service provider must have established agreements with owners of the cell phone networks in other countries so that the quad band phone can access and use the network. Therefore the quad band cell phone's ability to use the different networks is dependent upon whether or not an agreement exists between the phone's primary service provider and the network that the phone is trying to access.


Most quad band cell phones will automatically switch frequency bands and try to connect to the nearest available GSM network upon being turned on. Users of quad band cell phones should consult with their cell phone service provider before traveling to ensure that the phone will function on another network where travel is occuring. Some features of one cell phone service provider (such as Internet access) might not function the same on a different provider's network. Also additional fees and costs might be associated with using a cell phone on a different network. It is always a good idea to verify that cell phone service will be available where you are traveling and to clarify any additional fees or costs associated with accessing another company's cell phone network.

Fun Fact

Users are often surprised when they turn on their quad band cell phone after arriving in a new country and find that their screen displays a series of numbers and letters or the name of a local cell phone service provider and not their cell phone service provider. This is because the quad band phone has switched bands and located the nearest available network that it has access to.


About the Author

Maxwell Payne has been a freelance writer since 2007. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. He holds a Bachelor of Science in integrated science, business and technology.