A cellular network is a radio network distributed over land through cells where each cell includes a fixed location transceiver known as base station. These cells together provide radio coverage over larger geographical areas. User equipment such as mobile phones, is therefore able to communicate even if the equipment is moving through cells during transmission.
What is GSM?
The Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) network is the standard system used by most mobile phone networks around the world. Whether a system uses a cellular network based around broadcast stations or satellite technology connected to signals from orbit, both types can be part of the GSM network. According to statistics accumulated by an organization known as the GSM Association, roughly 80 percent of all mobile phones around the world are part of this network. Phones on this type of network use a Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) card, while those on the major competing technology, Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA), do not.
What is CDMA?
CDMA stands for Code Division Multiple Access. It is a wireless communication technology that allows multiple people to use a single radio channel at the same time with little interference and very high security. Conventional communication systems transmit and receive on one constant frequency; CDMA "spreads" a radio signal over a large frequency range, using a unique code to identify each transmitter/receiver pair. This allows many users to communicate on the same channel while making each transmission largely immune to natural interference, eavesdropping, and jamming.
What is 3G?
The third generation of standards of accessibility and speed for mobile devices is often referred to as 3G technology. 3G technology enables wireless telephone usage over a wide area, as well as broadband internet access and video calls, all accessible by mobile electronic devices. 3G standards provide for data transfer rates of up to two megabits per second when a device is stationary or indoors, but this speed goes down to 384 kilobits at pedestrian speeds on the street, and decreases again to about 144 kilobits per second in a moving vehicle.
What is 4G a.k.a. LTE?
LTE, which stands for Long Term Evolution, is the name for a technology standard used for 4G wireless networks. LTE is used by Verizon Wireless and AT&T to deliver high-speed wireless service. Sprint uses WiMax technology for its 4G network so if your are desiring LTE, make sure of the carrier. On average, 4G wireless is supposed to be anywhere from four to ten times faster than 3G networks. Verizon says its LTE network can deliver speeds between 5 megabits per second and 12 mbps. Sprint says its 4G WiMax network can offer download speeds that are ten times faster than a 3G connection, with speeds that top out at 10 megabits per second.