Wireless Network Technology May Help You Choose!
The type of wireless network technology available may help you decide
prepaid wireless provider to choose. Consider these tips and
questions to ask yourself during your research process.
is the actual type of technology used to build the cellular network.
LCD and Plasma televisions are two types of screen technologies,
a number of different technologies, including:
- iDEN (decommissioned in 2013)
wireless network technologies have evolved to the point where
voice quality is
relatively indistinguishable. Quality has more to do with how
technology is built out (i.e. how much money is invested in number of
towers, engineers to monitor and maintain them, etc.). So
considering technology as a potential choice, I would suggest focusing
on the following:
the most notable difference between technologies is data
speed. While you largely won't notice this when you're using
email clients on your smartphone, browsing the Internet, and watching
YouTube videos and other streaming media or online gaming will be
noticeably impacted. The technologies list above do
and complexity of technologies available. For example, CDMA
different types of networks such as 1xRTT, EVDO-Rev0, EVDO-RevA, 3G,
This is a conversation for another time, but generally
best way to see if the speed meets your needs is to try to do something
that you commonly do and see how it performs (ex. watching a You Tube
video). You should be able to do this in a store before
Historically, CDMA technologies always had noticeably faster
speeds than even the latest GSM technologies,
and iDEN (ex. legacy Nextel, which merged with Sprint) was so
it was virtually useless for any real data intensive
Of course, as the worldwide industry has shifted to the LTE
standard, you may not have a lot of work to do here.
recommend not getting caught up in terminology like 4G, 5G, etc.
Carriers often refer to different technologies as being 4G
(for example), and the actual speeds can vary widely based on network
configuration or even carrier software configuration (ex. compression,
different wireless network technology is used throughout the world, GSM
has historically been the most common, and especially in
where it was considered the standard since day one. So if you
lot, this may be very important to you if you want to ensure backwards
compatibility (from 4G LTE to GSM 3G). It's important to
however, that not only does the technology have to be the same, but the
frequency must also be the same. Most high end phones these
days support multiple frequencies, and can be considered
globally compatible. The best advice I can give is
with the wireless provider to make sure that the countries you're most
interested in are compatible. Generally speaking, GSM will be
widely compatible, even today as the technology is shifting to other
- Historically I would describe this as a meaningful difference when it
was GSM versus CDMA. The former having much higher worldwide
penetration resulted in a materially greater variety and lower prices.
However, I don't see this as an important factor with LTE
technologies that is essentially the current global standard.
technologies offer people greater flexibility to unlock our phones and
use them on different compatible carriers, or to travel abroad and use
a foreign SIM card. CDMA-based technologies don't allow for
type of flexibility, and it's very common for carriers with compatible
networks to not allow you to bring another provider's phone for
activation on their network. There has been some movement
from the FCC prohibiting certain locking behavior, however,
there are still some hoops you need to jump through. Note
that LTE technology is all SIM based, so the CDMA problem largely
impacts people with older phones who are looking to travel or change
Overall, there has classically been a market battle over how
communicate underlying technologies to customers. Ideally, we
shouldn't have to be
concerned about the underlying wireless network technology.
should simply be educated on quality, speed, and what services we can
access. However, many wireless providers try to tout their
technology as being better over another to try to create brand
awareness and loyalty. Ultimately, it ends up confusing
As the shift to a global LTE standard is well underway, we
can already see marketing tactics change. The focus now is
whether a carrier offers 480p, HD, or even 4K
video. At that point, carriers will
hopefully move to competing on unique products, services, and amazing
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