This is a comparison of standards of mobile phones. A new generation of cellular standards has appeared approximately every tenth year since 1G systems were introduced in 1979 and the early to mid-1980s.
Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM, around 80–85% market share) and IS-95 (around 10–15% market share) were the two most prevalent 2G mobile communication technologies in 2007. In 3G, the most prevalent technology was UMTS with CDMA-2000 in close contention.
All radio access technologies have to solve the same problems: to divide the finite RF spectrum among multiple users as efficiently as possible. GSM uses TDMA and FDMA for user and cell separation. UMTS, IS-95 and CDMA-2000 use CDMA. WiMAX and LTE use OFDM.
In theory, CDMA, TDMA and FDMA have exactly the same spectral efficiency but practically, each has its own challenges – power control in the case of CDMA, timing in the case of TDMA, and frequency generation/filtering in the case of FDMA.
For a classic example for understanding the fundamental difference of TDMA and CDMA, imagine a cocktail party where couples are talking to each other in a single room. The room represents the available bandwidth:
|Generation||Technology||Feature||Encoding||Year of First Use||Roaming||Handset interoperability||Common Interference||Signal quality/coverage area||Frequency utilization/Call density||Handoff||Voice and Data at the same time|
|1G||FDMA||NMT||Analog||1981||Nordics and several other European countries||None||None||Good coverage due to low frequencies||Very low density||Hard||No|
|2G||TDMA and FDMA||GSM||Digital||1991||Worldwide, all countries except Japan and South Korea||SIM card||Some electronics, e.g. amplifiers||Good coverage indoors on 850/900 MHz. Repeaters possible. 35 km hard limit.||Very low density||Hard||Yes GPRS Class A|
|2G||CDMA||IS-95 (CDMA one)||Digital||1995||Limited||None||None||Unlimited cell size, low transmitter power permits large cells||Very low density||Soft||No|
|3G||CDMA||IS-2000 (CDMA 2000)||Digital||2000 / 2002||Limited||RUIM (rarely used)||None||Unlimited cell size, low transmitter power permits large cells||Very low density||Soft||No EVDO / Yes SVDO|
|3G||W-CDMA||UMTS (3GSM)||Digital||2001||Worldwide||SIM card||None||Smaller cells and lower indoors coverage on 2100 MHz; equivalent coverage indoors and superior range to GSM on 850/900 MHz.||Very low density||Soft||Yes|
|4G||OFDMA||LTE||Digital||2009||Worldwide||SIM card||None||Smaller cells and lower coverage on the S band.||Very low density||Hard||No (data only)|
Voice possible through VoLTE or fallback to 2G/3G
|5G||OFDMA||NR||Digital||2018||Limited||SIM card||None||Dense cells on millimeter waves.||Very low density||Hard||No (data only)|
Voice possible through VoNR
|Network Compatibility||Standard or Revision|
|GSM (TDMA, 2G)||GSM (1991), GPRS (2000), EDGE (2003)|
|cdmaOne (CDMA, 2G)||cdmaOne (1995)|
|CDMA2000 (CDMA/TDMA, 3G)||EV-DO (1999), Rev. A (2006), Rev. B (2006), SVDO (2011)|
|UMTS (CDMA, 3G)||UMTS (1999), HSDPA (2005), HSUPA (2007), HSPA+ (2009)|
|4G||LTE (2009), LTE Advanced (2011), LTE Advanced Pro (2016)|
As a reference, a comparison of mobile and non-mobile wireless Internet standards follows.
|Family||Primary Use||Radio Tech||Downstream
|HSPA+ is widely deployed. Revision 11 of the 3GPP states that HSPA+ is expected to have a throughput capacity of 672 Mbit/s.|
|LTE||3GPP||Mobile Internet||OFDMA/TDMA/MIMO/SC-FDMA/for LTE-FDD/for LTE-TDD||100 Cat3
(in 20 MHz FDD) 
(in 20 MHz FDD)
|LTE-Advanced Pro offers rates in excess of 3 Gbit/s to mobile users.|
|WiMax rel 1||802.16||WirelessMAN||MIMO-SOFDMA||37 (10 MHz TDD)||17 (10 MHz TDD)||With 2x2 MIMO.|
|WiMax rel 1.5||802.16-2009||WirelessMAN||MIMO-SOFDMA||83 (20 MHz TDD)
141 (2x20 MHz FDD)
|46 (20 MHz TDD)
138 (2x20 MHz FDD)
|With 2x2 MIMO.Enhanced with 20 MHz channels in 802.16-2009|
|WiMAX rel 2.0||802.16m||WirelessMAN||MIMO-SOFDMA||2x2 MIMO
110 (20 MHz TDD)
183 (2x20 MHz FDD)
219 (20 MHz TDD)
365 (2x20 MHz FDD)
70 (20 MHz TDD)
188 (2x20 MHz FDD)
140 (20 MHz TDD)
376 (2x20 MHz FDD)
|Also, low mobility users can aggregate multiple channels to get a download throughput of up to 1 Gbit/s|
mobility up to 200 mph (350 km/h)
|Mobile range 30 km (18 miles)|
Extended range 55 km (34 miles)
|Wireless LAN||OFDM/OFDMA/CSMA/MIMO/MU-MIMO/Half duplex||9600 Wi-Fi 6|
|iBurst||802.20||Mobile Internet||HC-SDMA/TDD/MIMO||95||36||Cell Radius: 3–12 km|
Speed: 250 km/h
Spectral Efficiency: 13 bits/s/Hz/cell
Spectrum Reuse Factor: "1"
|EDGE Evolution||GSM||Mobile Internet||TDMA/FDD||1.6||0.5||3GPP Release 7|
|HSDPA is widely deployed. Typical downlink rates today 2 Mbit/s, ~200 kbit/s uplink; HSPA+ downlink up to 56 Mbit/s.|
|UMTS-TDD||3GPP||Mobile Internet||CDMA/TDD||16||Reported speeds according to IPWireless using 16QAM modulation similar to HSDPA+HSUPA|
|EV-DO Rel. 0
|Rev B note: N is the number of 1.25 MHz carriers used. EV-DO is not designed for voice, and requires a fallback to 1xRTT when a voice call is placed or received.|
Notes: All speeds are theoretical maximums and will vary by a number of factors, including the use of external antennas, distance from the tower and the ground speed (e.g. communications on a train may be poorer than when standing still). Usually the bandwidth is shared between several terminals. The performance of each technology is determined by a number of constraints, including the spectral efficiency of the technology, the cell sizes used, and the amount of spectrum available. For more information, see Comparison of wireless data standards.
For more comparison tables, see bit rate progress trends, comparison of mobile phone standards, spectral efficiency comparison table and OFDM system comparison table.