[TriLUG] FOSS/Linux phones

Neil L. Little nllittle at embarqmail.com
Sat Jul 5 15:13:10 EDT 2008

850 mhz (a-side/b-side old NAMPS) cellular in this area use CDMA. Those 
would be Altell and Verizon.

In the US GSM carriers are located in the 1.9Ghz pcs band. There are 
also carriers in the 1.9Ghz pcs band that use CDMA as well.

The 1.9Ghz pcs band is split up into A, B, C and D segments. The first 
entrant to this area was Bell South Mobility that took the A segment 
(GSM) and then Spring PCS who took the B segment (CDMA).

In this area Cingular/AT&T use GSM in the 1.9Ghz pcs band. AT&T used 
CDMA in their network. When they bought/merged with Cingular/Bell South 
they had to divest their original network (a telecom company cannot own 
more that one network in a MSA) and it was snatched up by SunCOM. 
If/when AT&T merges with Altell they will no doubt have to divest 
themselves of the 850mhz cellular network.

It is always best to get your self a phone that will work in both the 
850mhz and 1.9Ghz cellular systems. What with all the telecom mergers 
that have gone through you end up with a company that uses a hodge podge 
of 850mhz and 1.9Ghz systems. It can be confusing at times.

GSM is a some what analog/digital protocol that started out over in 
Europe. Its advantage is use of a SIM card that lets one go from one 
phone to another. Its only recently that they have overlayed the RITT 
digital protocol to give data capabilities (I may be hazy on some of 
this since its been 10 years since I was in the field). I never much 
cared for it during in my interval as a Cellular Field Engineer (GTE 

What do I use? I have a 850mhz phone that can also use 1.9Ghz pcs. I 
have my service with Altell. CDMA is a better protocol to use for data 
and has better audio to boot.

850mhz cellular systems are more developed (higher cell site density) 
and have a better coverage area as far as signal goes. 850Mhz signals 
propagate with less loss over distance and through structures much 
better than 1.9ghz signals any day of the week.

Neil, WA4AZL
JARS Forever!!

Chess Griffin wrote:
> On Thu, Jul 3, 2008 at 11:53 PM, Tarus Balog <tarus at opennms.org> wrote:
>> On Jul 3, 2008, at 11:27 PM, Douglas A. Whitfield wrote:
>>> What carriers?  I'm very interested in this!
>> It looks like any GSM carrier will work. Just stick your SIM card into
>> the phone and voila.
>> -T
> Since the 850 band Freerunners are the only ones available, does
> anyone know if the 850 will work on Cingular/AT&T here in Raleigh?  I
> think so -- I believe the US uses the 850 GSM band -- but just wanted
> to check before shelling out $400... :-)

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