Difference between GSM and UMTS

GSM and UMTS are two prime technology that forms the backbone of cell phone communication. First, let we check it out the full form of GSM and full form of UMTS. Here this article gives information about the difference between GSM and UMTS to know more details about it.

Full meaning :
  • GSM  stands for global system for mobile.
  • UMTS stands for the universal mobile telecommunication system.
Frequency band :

  • GSM uses frequency like 850 MHz, 1800 MHz, and 1900 MHz while UMTS uses frequency. the band like a various band from band to band, each band specifies frequency and UARFCN.
Multiple access techniques :
  • GSM used in multiple access techniques like FDMA/TDMA.
  • In CDMA multiple access techniques can be used. 
Carrier frequency :
  • GSM used carrier frequency is to be 200 KHz. 
  • UMTS used carrier frequency is to be 1230 KHz.
Frame :
  • GSM - frame duration is about 4.615 ms.
  • UMTS - frame duration is about 10 ms.
Channel rate :
  • GSM - 270.833 Kbps.
  • UMTS  - 1228.8 Kbps.
Modulation efficiency :
  • GSM - 1.35b/s/Hz.
  • UMTS - 1.0b/s/Hz.
Standard version :
  • GSM use various version such as R99, R5, R6, etc.
  • In UMTS there is various document especially by ETSI and 3GPP, 3GPP TS series.
Summary :
  • GSM is 2G and 2.5 G while UMTS is already 3G.
  • GSM is rather old technology while UMTS is newer.
  • UMTS has a faster data transfer rate compared to GSM.
  • GSM is typically based on FDMA/TDMA multiple access techniques used while UMTS is mainly CDMA based. 
  • GSM is still the most widely used technology today while UMTS is still in its infancy, slowly creeping forward.
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