Ahmed Eltawil's Blog

North American GSM Frequencies vs The World

Posted on: September 6, 2009

I just realized today that only North America uses the GSM-850 and GSM-1900 while the rest of the world is enjoying GSM-900 and GSM-1800 frequencies. Why should US and Canada be using different cellular frequencies than the rest of the world? Phone manufacturers like Nokia, HTC and Samsung mostly make 3G phones that run on the 900 and 1800 frequencies because voice and 3G will work right out of the box in Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia. But when it comes to the US and Canada, they have to wait months until the same manufacturers make a North American model (aka NAM) and a lot of times they don’t even bother, and I can honestly understand why.

But the only thing that I still don’t understand is why can’t US and Canadian GSM wireless carriers switch to the 900 and 1800 GSM frequencies so that any new phone can truly be called a world phone? Why should US and Canada wait forever to get the NAM phones when most of the world are already using the newly released phones right from the manufacturer? Are North American wireless carriers trying to increase their profits this way? I mean, did they run on different frequencies so that customers wouldn’t buy phones from anywhere else except from them forcing them into a long term contract? Honestly that’s the only explanation I could come up with and it sounds pretty unfair for the customer. They are totally limiting the customer’s options when it comes to cellphones.

I can’t count how many times I wished I could own a particular smartphone and end up finding that it won’t be able to use my GSM carrier’s 3G network because it doesn’t support North American GSM frequencies. I think Rogers, Fido, AT&T, T-Mobile, basically all North American GSM wireless carriers need to switch to the 900 and 1800 cellular frequencies. There is no need to make things more complicated. Universal GSM frequencies will definitely make things a lot easier and more convenient for people to roam around the world with their world phones while utilizing all their phone’s features, especially the fast mobile broadband connections.

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