Global System for Mobile Communications

Global System for Mobile Communications

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Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) is a standard developed by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) to describe the protocols for second-generation (2G) digital cellular networks used by mobile devices such as mobile phones and tablets. It was first deployed in Finland in December 1991 and has since become the global standard for mobile communications.

Key features of GSM include:

  1. Digital System: GSM was one of the first mobile telephony systems that used digital technology, as previous systems were analog. Digital systems offer better sound quality, security, and capacity.
  2. Cellular Network: GSM uses a cellular network structure. This means the area served by the network is divided into cells, each served by a base station. This allows for efficient use of frequency spectrum and high capacity, with many users being able to use the network simultaneously.
  3. Voice and Data Services: GSM provides both voice and data services. It was initially designed for voice communication but evolved to include data communications, first via circuit-switched data (CSD) and later via GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) and EDGE (Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution).
  4. International Roaming: GSM networks operate in four different frequency ranges. Most GSM networks operate in the 900 MHz or 1800 MHz bands. The roaming agreement between GSM network operators allows users to use their mobile devices in many different countries, which has significantly contributed to GSM’s popularity worldwide.

GSM has been superseded by third (3G), fourth (4G), and now fifth generation (5G) mobile technologies, but it remains in use in many parts of the world.

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