WCDMA or GSM: what’s the difference?

In some smartphones, you can see several network support modes at once, including GSM, WCDMA or WCDMA / GSM. Which of these modes should you choose when using the device? Let’s look for an answer.

Here’s what the network mode selection might look like on a regular smartphone:


GSM refers to the so-called second generation (2G) communications – digital cellular communications. Mobile phones come with support for 4 frequencies: 850 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz and 1900 MHz. Many models support several types of frequencies at once..

If you select the support mode for the GSM network, then know that it handles calls and sending / receiving SMS messages best of all. But data transmission is carried out using GPRS – this is an add-on over GSM. The maximum data transfer rate is only 171.2 kbit / s, which is extremely small in modern realities. However, there is another type of add-on – EDGE, the maximum data transfer rate of which is already 474 kbit / s, which, however, is still a bit.

But the GSM mode allows you to save battery power. Therefore, if you decide to go camping, where you can’t even dream of any Internet, you should use the GSM mode.


WCDMA refers to third-generation (3G) cellular communications. WCDMA is a radio interface technology that uses wideband code division multiple access. It is WCDMA that has been chosen by many mobile operators to provide broadband radio access in order to support 3G services..

What WCDMA does better is data transfer, since it can reach 3.6 Mbps. This is quite enough not only to upload pictures to the network or go to sites, but even to watch online video.

This mode should be used if you use both the Internet and communication at the same time. For example, for the city – this is the most optimal mode. True, the charge will be slightly higher compared to GSM.


Universal cellular mode of operation, set by default. In general, it can be called optimal, since it provides both high-quality voice communication and data transfer at maximum speed. Its only minus is that the battery discharge rate will be slightly higher than if you use only one mode.