Types of Mobile Networks

By Nick Miles

While all mobile phones allow users to wirelessly make phone calls from nearly anywhere within their coverage map, these phones don't always use the same technology. Different wireless service providers use different mobile network technology. This in turn makes phones on one network incompatible with another network, allowing providers to strike exclusive deals.


Global System for Mobile, or GSM, is the most-employed mobile standard in the world. Carriers who operate on the GSM network include AT&T and T-Mobile. Other technologies included within the GSM standard are GPRS and EDGE, which offer speedier data transfers on 2g networks. HSDPA, or High Speed Downlink Packet Access, is the 2g GSM network.


Code Division Multiple Access, or CDMA, is a newer technology and offers higher data transmission capabilities. Carriers that use CDMA networks include Verizon and Sprint Nextel. The Evolution Data Optimized, or EV-DO, is the 3g CDMA standard.


Long Term Evolution, or LTE, is the next generation of cellular technology known as 4g. LTE and LTE Advanced Networks will be utilized by both AT&T and Verizon.


WiMAX is the other competing 4g technology. It is the first 4g network to enter operation and is run by Sprint, with the HTC Evo being their first 4g phone.