Published on Jan 03, 2023
TDMA, or Time Division Multiple Access was one of the first cell phone digital standards available in the United States. It was the first successor to the original AMPS analog service that was popular throughout the country, and was in popular service from the early-mid 1990's up until roughly 2003 when the last of the TDMA carriers, Cingular and AT&T, switched to the GSM digital standard.
TDMA was a significant leap over the analog wireless service that was in place at the time, and it's chief benefit for carriers was that it used the available wireless spectrum much more efficiently than analog, allowing more phone calls to go through simultaneously. An additional benefit to carriers was that it virtually eliminated the criminal cell phone cloning that was popular at the time by encrypting the signal it's wireless signal.
The primary benefit for wireless users of the era was dramatically increased call quality over the scratchy, frequently garbled or "under water" sounds that analog users had become accustomed to. All manufacturers produced TDMA handsets during this period of time, but Nokia's ubiquitous model 5165 is probably the most popular example of TDMA technology.TDMA was replaced by GSM to permit the use of advanced, data intensive features such as text messaging and picture messaging, and to allow an even more efficient use of bandwidth.
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