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Thread: Verizon 4G LTE - is it still CDMA or GSM?

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    Verizon 4G LTE - is it still CDMA or GSM?

    Hi everyone,

    I am a bit concerned about cell phone radiation...
    I have read that CDMA is less harmful than GSM, since GSM is pulsating and has highs and lows and CDMA is more stable.
    And so I have narrowed down my new phone choice to Samsung Galaxy Note II on Verizon, since it has low SAR and Verizon has CDMA network.

    However, I have also just seen the news that Verizon will be retiring its CDMA networks next year.
    "...Verizon first has to bring online its long-planned voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) service, which would allow it to shift its call traffic from the circuit-switched 2G network to its all-IP 4G LTE network..."

    And I understand that 4G LTE is a GSM system, not part of CDMA.

    So does it mean that phone calls on Verizon 4G LTE phones are not on CDMA network but on GSM network?

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    First of all, there's hardly any GSM-only areas left in the United States. AT&T has virtually completed its 3G overlay. T-Mobile has some GSM-only areas left, but they're pretty rural and low pops.

    Carriers that used to offer GSM (which is TDMA-based) have pretty much replaced their 2G GSM service with 3G UMTS/W-CDMA, which - just like CDMA2000 - is CDMA-based.

    LTE is neither TDMA- nor CDMA-based, it's OFDMA-based, a completely different technology that's related to WiMAX, but not to any of the 3G systems out there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gpatrick900
    I am a little confused. My Verizon phone was able to roam on GSM because they used TDMA. Tell it was shutdown. The phone recognizes it as Analog. If PCS has TDMA, It could be technically be used on GSM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tabla View Post
    Y'know, I'm used to hysterical 14-year-old ******** on the internet, but this is exceptional. Never before in human history have so many nerds hyperventilated so publicly over so little.

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    I think another way to look at the term "GSM" is divorced from the technology itself, and more descriptive of the standards body that created it originally, the GSM Association. They're who decided to abandon GSM after EDGE and pursue W-CDMA as a technology and develop their UMTS standard. They're the ones that identified LTE as the technology for use as the next step after UMTS.

    Really, this just ensures compatible standards, handoffs between air interface technologies, better roaming abilities, and a pooled set of R & D resources.

    All that said, yes, Verizon Wireless is now a GSM company... That is, they're full members of the GSM Association and using a chosen GSMA technology, meeting their requirements. Yet, they're still a CDMA company... In that their 3G network is still CDMA2000 until the day they shut off their last antenna.

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    Quote Originally Posted by XFF View Post
    First of all, there's hardly any GSM-only areas left in the United States. AT&T has virtually completed its 3G overlay. T-Mobile has some GSM-only areas left, but they're pretty rural and low pops.

    Carriers that used to offer GSM (which is TDMA-based) have pretty much replaced their 2G GSM service with 3G UMTS/W-CDMA, which - just like CDMA2000 - is CDMA-based.
    You make it sound like T-Mobile no longer has any GPRS/EDGE-only areas left, and that GPRS/EDGE-only areas are rare in the US for any carrier. Unfortunately, truth is, the majority of T-Mobile's land area coverage is GPRS/EDGE. Oklahoma is one of the best-covered states they have, as the map below shows. However, 90% of it is GPRS/EDGE-only. Not all are rural or "low-pop"either, there are several cities with 50,000 that T-Mobile only offers GPRS/EDGE in. That number is probably hicksville to someone from the east coast, but in the majority of states, that is a pretty good-sized city. The situation continues up into Kansas, and on up to Minnesota, another of T-Mobile's best-covered states but where that coverage is mostly GPRS/EDGE.

    Attachment 100476

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    Quote Originally Posted by samsungalias2 View Post
    However, I have also just seen the news that Verizon will be retiring its CDMA networks next year.
    "...Verizon first has to bring online its long-planned voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) service, which would allow it to shift its call traffic from the circuit-switched 2G network to its all-IP 4G LTE network..."
    While Verizon will start rolling out VoLTE by the end of this year, they won't be retiring their CDMA networks next year. CDMA will be around for a very long time. I would suspect that the majority of Verizon subscribers are still not using LTE phones yet. And the vast majority of current LTE phones out there still rely on CDMA for voice (they use LTE for data only). In order for Verizon to be able to start turning off CDMA, not only would they need to roll out VoLTE to their entire network, they would also need to have their subscribers on VoLTE handsets.

    Think back to when cell providers started rolling out digital cell phones. How many years did analog stick around until they finally turned them off? I've heard some say that CDMA will be around until 2020.

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    Verizon laid out their plans for VoLTE in August of this year. http://www.phonearena.com/news/Veriz...-plans_id46420 Basically, 100% of voice traffic still goes over CDMA and will for quite some time to come. Supposedly there "will be no slow rollout", it will be quick. We will see about that, since they are still claiming only 1% of their 3G coverage area remains without LTE. Riiiiiiiiiiight. I wonder if that 1% will be completed by then.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jseah View Post
    While Verizon will start rolling out VoLTE by the end of this year, they won't be retiring their CDMA networks next year. CDMA will be around for a very long time. I would suspect that the majority of Verizon subscribers are still not using LTE phones yet. And the vast majority of current LTE phones out there still rely on CDMA for voice (they use LTE for data only). In order for Verizon to be able to start turning off CDMA, not only would they need to roll out VoLTE to their entire network, they would also need to have their subscribers on VoLTE handsets.

    Think back to when cell providers started rolling out digital cell phones. How many years did analog stick around until they finally turned them off? I've heard some say that CDMA will be around until 2020.
    Verizon has publicly stated 2021 is the end date for 3G and cdma.

    Sent with the HoFo App

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    I think Verizon will retire the 3G 1xEVDO before the 2G 1xRTT network. The EVDO network cannot handle voice calls, sms messages, or circuit switched data. EVDO is just data (spectrally inefficient data at that). The 1xRTT network can handle voice calls, sms, circuit switch, and packet switched data. The endgame for cdma2000 network will be coverage/support for embedded systems (i.e. On Star, 5-star urgent response, home burglary alarms, M2M appliances, fleet telematics, ect...). The 1xRTT network will also support the last folks that are slow to upgrade their voice to VoLTE solutions. In the cdma2000 endgame, Verizon will probably shutoff most all 1xEVDO channels and reallocate them to LTE in the PCS and Cellular Bands. I see a future were the only cdma2000 network remaining is a single 1.25MHz 1xRTT carrier. That single 1xRTT carrier scenario will probably happen pretty soon (5 years?) and be kept alive through 2021.

    In regard to the original poster's concerns about specific absorption rate (SAR), i think the phenomenon occurs regardless of the modulation scheme (2G, 3G, 4G, GSM, cdma2000, ect..). SAR is primarily a function of the root mean square of the electric field. So it appears that the primary driver of SAR would be the spectrum you operate on and the average power radiated by the phone. The GSM's "buzz" instantaneous power doesn't appear to drive SAR, just its average power.

    Apple was nice enough to solve the SAR formula several times for their iPhone 5S: http://www.apple.com/legal/rfexposure/iphone6,1/en/ Note that (4G) LTE band 25, (2G) GSM 1900, and (3G) UMTS 1900 perfectly overlap and produce the same SAR value. This is probably due to internal average RF power limits in the phone (probably 1 watt). These SAR values are worst case values since the phone's radio is probably idle most of the time. Spectral efficiency improvements (better code words) in UMTS and LTE probably allow the radio to transmit less frequently than older schemes likes 2G GSM or cdma2000 1xRTT. That reduces the RMS electric field and should reduce the realized SAR. See UMTS 850 vs GSM 850 SAR values.

    It looks like there is also a strong correlation between spectrum band your operating on and SAR. It looks like the closer you get to 2.4GHz the larger the SAR value gets (remember wifi operates at ~1/10th the power of 1 watt cellular radios and still produces a comparable SAR value). Microwave ovens operate at 2.4GHz for a reason, there is a relatively strong absorption line there. Notice how the lower spectrum bands are producing lower SAR values. Historically 850MHz cellular band phones were allowed to exceed 1 watt power and PCS band phones were limited to 1 watt. Perhaps SAR limits are what drove PCS' power cap. I'm not sure what LTE phones are limited to, I assume it's self imposed at 1 watt regardless of spectrum band.

    My conclusion: Low band LTE appears to be the "safest" when it comes to RF exposure. For the time being that's Verizon and US Cellular's LTE networks.

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    What I think the rest of this thread kind of misses is this: there's absolutely no scientific evidence that cell phone radio emissions are harmful in any way. No link to cancer, or any other kind of side effect. Cell phones are safer than going outdoors without sunscreen.

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    Good point twbrn.

    All of the current cellular technologies operate as very low power levels and that energy dissipates very rapidly with an inverse square to distance. Yet the sun pumps out several kilowatts per square meter on earth, significantly more RF power than any cell phone.

    Wear sunscreen, try to not put your face on the front of an operating microwave oven, and try not to strap yourself to an operating AM transmitter tower . If your worried about cancer, i think several sources of food are much more dangerous than cell phones.

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    Well, you have nothing to worry about anyway, but you know that. Two, both UMTS (AT&T/T-Mobile) and Qualcomm CDMA (Verizon/Sprint) are CDMA technologies. For now, these are still used for voice. GSM is essentially dead, maintained only for legacy compatibility.

    LTE, which will be used for voice, is something entirely different. But, in terms of it's RF signature, it's more similar to CDMA.

    Finally, you have NOTHING to worry about, these are off-the-wall theories by people who have essentially no understanding of the science involved.

    P.S. Etron, remember AT&T LTE is also primarily 700 MHz

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    Thank you very much for your replies.

    Those things are complicated and, in addition, the progress is so fast that it is hard to keep up-.
    So I am glad you all know what is going on!

    I also like my cell phone and other gadgets and can't live without wifi and email and internet access.
    But also, I can't live without cupcakes and junk food, although I know they are not good for me.
    When something is addictive, such as modern technology and sweets (for me), it is very hard to use reason and make wise choices.
    I live in an apartment building and 25 full strength wifis show each time I turn on my macbook.
    In addition, there is all this radio radiation, cell towers, tv, smart meters, DECT wireless phones, plus my own 2 cell phones.
    When you start to think about it, the environment seems very radiation-polluted and I find it slightly annoying.
    When I feel that way, I wish I lived in a free-standing house in the country with a landline phone and a wired computer!

    Anyway, I wanted to ask some questions so that I am able to pick the best cell phone option for myself, under the circumstances, and I will probably switch to Verizon if they use lower frequencies for their voice 4G LTE.
    (although they are expensive!)

    FYI, I live in NYC/Manhattan. Is Verizon also using lower frequencies (700) for their 4G LTE here? (I think their coverage /bands differs from area to area)

    Do you know what frequencies is AT&T using for their 4G LTE in New York? Is it mixed or one band?

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    Everything ive read says cdma isnt as bad when compared to gsm so vz would be a good choice. Everything i learned in school in courses like electromagnetism and thermodynamics, the worry is most likely from what problems could arise from a thermal or heating perspective in a sense.

    Overall cellphones seem very safe and any theoretical issues seem minimal at best.

    I wouldnt stress it. 1.6w/kg shouldnt be a problem and i think thats a peak value so phones prob rarely reach their highest capable levels. With lte seems like it would be even lower.
    Last edited by themanhimself; 11-07-2013 at 11:00 PM.

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    I want to make the point that both use the same bands as far as this is concerned (700 MHz and AWS) and also that what matters most is who is stronger in your apartment. The stronger the signal from the cell site, the weaker the signal from your phone. So if you care about this by FAR the most important thing is to find who is strongest at your apartment and sign up for them. Whoever is strongest at your house is your best choice for minimising your exposure (because the phone doesn't have to "talk as loud" to reach the tower).

    But again, the exposure does not matter one bit it's all VERY low.

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    TMobile has 270 mm native POP's and 229 mm HSPA+ POP's.

    Still a lot to cover and modernize, which TMo will have to do because the old GSM sites are near their end.

    It is on T-Mobile's radar from internal conference calls. Still, they haven't provided a time table for when they will have HSPA over their footprint.
    Have you read the forum rules lately?

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