GSM is the most popular mobile network in the world and provides coverage in more than two hundred countries. Around eighty percent of all mobile connections are made using this network, which makes it easy for GSM subscribers to travel abroad and continue using their phones. On the other hand, UMTS is the third-generation (3G) mobile technology and it supports high-speed data transmission, text messaging, and video calling.
UMTS phones use a Universal Subscriber Identity Module (USIM), a type of SIM card based on the GSM standard. The SIM card is a common way to identify your phone while roaming and allows networks to authenticate your device. Depending on your roaming agreement, you can use different services from different mobile carriers, and the number of contacts on your phone can be different from the number on your SIM card.
Generally speaking, GSM is faster. This is primarily due to the number of GSM networks around the world. However, CDMA phones are not capable of roaming between networks and must be purchased from a specific carrier. GSM networks also offer a variety of data plans. The difference between GSM and CDMA SIMs is mostly in the type of data the phone supports.
UMTS technology is relatively new. Major 2G phone manufacturers are also making 3G phones. But early 3G handsets and modems were country-specific, and could only roam on a certain frequency in that region. Today, the majority of countries in Europe and Canada use a common frequency. This enables them to be used in different countries. It is important to note, however, that UMTS handsets may not be functional in areas outside the UMTS network.
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