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What is the difference between LTE, GSM, and CDMA?

Pix Staff Web Team Updated


  • Pix offers three wireless technologies: GSM (Emerald/Indigo/World), LTE (Silver), and CDMA (Yellow).


  • Pix GSM service requires the use of a Pix GSM SIM card, and an unlocked device free of financial obligation.


  • Pix LTE service requires a Pix Silver Sim card, and a LTE 'VoLTE' capable device free of financial obligations.


  • Pix CDMA service requires the use of a CDMA Sprint phone/device free of financial obligations.

GSM (Pix Emerald / Indigo / World) 

GSM stands for Global System for Mobile communications. GSM phones require the use of a SIM card. With Pix Wireless, you can bring your own AT&T or unlocked GSM phone and purchase a Pix GSM SIM card. A Pix SIM card can be switched from phone to phone, making the new phone receive all calls to the subscriber's number.

GSM is estimated to cover 80% of the global mobile market, and is used by over 3 billion people across more than 212 countries and territories. The worldwide GSM standard has been an advantage to consumers (who benefit from the ability to roam and switch carriers without switching phones). Pix Wireless GSM SIM cards currently operate in the US only and International roaming is not available at this time.

LTE (Pix Silver)

Stands for "Long Term Evolution." LTE is a 4G telecommunications standard used for transferring data over cellular networks. It supports data transfer rates of up to 100 Mbps downstream and 50 Mbps upstream.

While the terms "4G" and "LTE" are often used synonymously, LTE is actually a subset of 4G technologies. Other 4G standards include Mobile WiMax (IEEE 802.16e) and WirelessMAN-Advanced (IEEE 802.16m). However, since LTE was designed to be an international telecommunications standard, it has been widely adopted by the United States and several countries in Europe and Asia. Therefore, LTE is by far the most common 4G standard.


CDMA (Pix Yellow)

CDMA stands for Code Division Multiple Access- A method for transmitting simultaneous signals over a shared portion of the spectrum. The foremost application of CDMA is the digital cellular phone technology that operates in the 800MHz band and 1.9GHz PCS band. CDMA phones are noted for their call quality.

CDMA phones require programming of the Mobile Number (MDN) along with other network information to operate properly. You will be given instructions for programming this information during the activation process. With CDMA technology, the Network matches the ESN (Electronic Serial Number) and the information programmed into the phone (MDN) to authorize the phone on the Network.

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