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Wireless Basics
Technical Specifications

Wirefly Learn » Resources » Wireless Basics

May 31st, 2009


A cell phone technical specifications are the main technologies that the phone employs to perform such functions as receiving a signal, accessing and downloading data or accepting different software applications. The expression also applies to basic information such as cell phone dimensions, weight, etc.

Application Platform

An application platform is a feature that allows a cell phone to accept various software applications. The most common application platform used in cell phones are Java and BREW.

High Speed Data

High speed data refers to a cell phone’s capability to access and download Internet data at high speeds (compared to older applications). Speed in downloads is measured in Kilobytes per second (Kbps).

The most used high speed data packages today are GPRS and EDGE, which allow cell phones to download data at 115 Kbps, 236 Kbps.

Network Compatibility

Network compatibility refers to two things:

  1. The network technology on which the phone operates. The current two standard network technologies are GSM and CDMA.
  2. The bands on which the phone operates. Bands are radio frequencies measured in Mega Hertz (MHz); in the US, the frequency bands on which a cell phone can operate are 800/850 MHz and 1900 MHz, although other bands are used in different parts of the world.

A dual-band phone will support two frequency bands. A tri- or quad-band phone can support three or four bands–such as the two in the US (800/850 and 1900 MHz) plus others used in other countries.

So, if for instance a phone’s network compatibility is rated as “GSM 850, 900, 1800 1900,” it means that the phone operates on the GSM network technology and on four bands–850 and 1900 MHz (used in the US) plus 900 and 1800 MHz, which are used in Europe, Asia and a host of other countries, making the phone particularly attractive to International travelers.

Ringtone Types Supported

A cell phone can support different ringtone formats. The most used are MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) and MP3.

Predictive Text Entry

Some technologies have been introduced to make typing text on a cell phone easier and quicker. Predictive text technology (such as T9) works this way: you begin typing the first few letters of a word and the cell phone “predicts” what that word may be and ends it for you.

For instance, if you begin typing “tod,” the predictive text technology will suggest the whole word “today.” This technology is especially useful on cell phones that do not have a QWERTY keyboard.

Built-in Memory

Each cell phones comes with a certain amount of internal memory used to store files such as voice memos, photographs, video-clips, music, etc. Memory is measured in Megabytes (MB).

Depending on the cell phone model, the amount of built-in memory can vary. Currently, 15 MB of internal memory is considered to be adequate for normal use, while 100 MB of memory is considered very ample.

Expandable memory capacity. Some cell phones allow for extra memory capacity–that is, the option to increase the amount of memory beyond what’s built in. This is generally done through the insertion of a memory card.


Dimensions of a cell phone refers to its measurement in inches. By today’s standards, a cell phone measuring 3.5 inches in height and x 2 inches in width is considered small, while a cell phone measuring 0.5 inches in thickness is considered thin.


Weight of a cell phone is measured in ounces (oz). By today’s standards, a phone is considered very light if it weighs around 3.5 oz or less.

TTY Compatible

Short for Tele Typewriter, TTY is a telecommunication device for the hearing- or speech-impaired. It works by allowing the users to type the text rather than communicating it via speech. A TTY device is necessary on both ends of the conversation for communication to take place.

M3 Hearing Aid Compatible

When used in conjunction with hearing aids, some cell phones can create static or other types of interference. The telecommunications industry has introduced a rating system that may be used to assess the ability of a cell phone to be used in conjunction with a hearing aid.

The M system is one of such rating systems. M3 rating means that the phone meets FCC standards for hearing aid compatibility.

Shop Now for Phones from AT&T Wirelesss, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless.

2 Responses to “Technical Specifications”

  • Charles Culhane
    September 7, 2010

    Good morning,

    I am hearing impaired and use hearing aids. What I need is the best phone you have available for the hearing impaired. I am using a Sony Ericssson now and need an upgrade.



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