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Telecom Courses : GSM

Tutorial by:      Date: 2016-08-06 04:14:18

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GSM (Global System for Mobile communication)


Definition - What does Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) mean?

The Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) is a second generation (2G) standard for mobile networks.

In the early 1980s, a group was formed by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) to develop a digital mobile communication system. Aptly named Groupe Speciale Mobile (GSM), its main task was to develop a single, consistent network for all of Europe and come up with a better and more efficient technical solution for wireless communication.

The GSM standard operates on three different carrier frequencies: the 900 MHz band, which was used by the original GSM system; the 1800 MHz band, which was added to support the swelling number of subscribers and the 1900 MHz frequency, which is used mainly in the U.S.

Although GSM is based on the time division multiple access (TDMA) system, its technology uses digital signaling and speech channels and is considered a second generation (2G) mobile phone system.


Techopedia explains Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM)

The GSM standard has given birth to wireless services like General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) and Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE). Its end users were the first to take advantage of an inexpensive implementation of SMS (short message system), which is more popularly known as texting.

Being a cellular network, GSM makes use of cells to provide wireless communication to subscribers who are in the vicinity of these cells. The four main cells that make up a GSM network are called macro, micro, pico and femto. Outdoor coverage is typically provided by macro and micro cells, while indoor coverage is usually provided by the pico and femto cells.

GSM phones may be identified by the presence of a Subscriber Identity Module (SIM). This tiny object, which is about as wide as a finger, is a removable smart card that contains a user’s subscription information, as well as some contact entries. This SIM card allows a user to switch from one GSM phone to another. In some countries, especially those in Asia, GSM phones are locked to a specific carrier. However, if a user manages to unlock a phone, he can insert any SIM from any carrier into the same phone.

One of the main advantages of the GSM standard is the ability to roam and switch carriers by using individual mobile units (if partner networks are located in their destination).



GSM (Global System for Mobile communication) is a digital mobile telephony system that is widely used in Europe and other parts of the world. GSM uses a variation of time division multiple access (TDMA) and is the most widely used of the three digital wireless telephony technologies (TDMA, GSM, and CDMA). GSM digitizes and compresses data, then sends it down a channel with two other streams of user data, each in its own time slot. It operates at either the 900 MHz or 1800 MHz frequency band.



What is GSM?

GSM (Global System for Mobile communications) is an open, digital cellular technology used for transmitting mobile voice and data services.

What does GSM offer?

GSM supports voice calls and data transfer speeds of up to 9.6 kbps, together with the transmission of SMS (Short Message Service).

GSM operates in the 900MHz and 1.8GHz bands in Europe and the 1.9GHz and 850MHz bands in the US. GSM services are also transmitted via 850MHz spectrum in Australia, Canada and many Latin American countries. The use of harmonised spectrum across most of the globe, combined with GSM’s international roaming capability, allows travellers to access the same mobile services at home and abroad. GSM enables individuals to be reached via the same mobile number in up to 219 countries.

Terrestrial GSM networks now cover more than 90% of the world’s population. GSM satellite roaming has also extended service access to areas where terrestrial coverage is not available.


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