There are different types of antennas, including GSM and GPS. If you are looking for more information about these, you are at the right place. Here at SEI, we offer high-frequency microwave and RF products, including antennas. Since there are a lot of antenna types in the market, we will be sharing with you an article where we will be discussing the difference between two specific types, the GSM and GPS. If you want to know more information, make sure to continue reading below to find out. 

What is GPS?

GPS stands for Global Positioning System. It is a navigation system that uses a satellite that will continuously send out signals. The GPS has a receiver that catches the signal coming in from the satellite and through this receiver, the user’s specific position anywhere in the world will be calculated accurately. This was developed by the United States Department of Defense.

The GPS receiver will compare the time of transmission of the signal to the time it was received. It is useful in providing the different coordinates for any location in the world using the navigation satellite. It is commonly used to locate a specific place or position of a person on earth. Nowadays, it has been used in mobile technology. Electronic gadgets such as smartphones have been incorporated with a GPS chip and have been using the GPS feature. It has been quite useful in finding locations in airplanes, cars, mobile phones, etc. 

GPS is made up of a network with 24 satellites placed strategically in the Earth’s orbit. One of the greatest advantages of GPS is that it functions in different kinds of weather conditions. It has a parallel multi-channel design; the GPS receivers are highly precise. A GPS signal carries three different types of information – almanac data, ephemeris data, and pseudorandom code. 

The GPS signal travels at the speed of light in outer space but becomes slower when it enters the Earth’s atmosphere. The GPS receiver uses the time of arrival to calculate the distance traveled from each satellite and this will help determine the position of the receiver using geometry and trigonometry. A GPS receiver then calculates four variables and three spatial coordinates. 

GPS Specifications

  • Applications: Commonly used for different applications on air, land, and sea
  • Frequency of operation: GPS works on 1575.42 MHz (L1 band), 1227.60 MHz (L2 band), 1381.05 (L3 band), 1379.913 (L4 band), 1176.45 (L5 band), etc.
  • Frame Structure: GPS Frame Structure
  • Technologies: Works with technologies using wireless connections such as GSM, LTE, WiMAX, etc. 

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What is GSM? 

GSM is the acronym for Global System for Mobile communications. In 1991, the European Telecommunications Standard Institute developed the GSM and successfully launched it at the end of 1992 as a substitute to analog systems. It was originally planned to be used only in European countries, but it later spread into the different parts of the world.

It is the standard with protocols for the second generation mobile networks. It is a specific wireless network infrastructure. GSM functions with data passing through it, which are compressed and then sent to different useful channels. The GSM network is stable and has been updated to function with different network elements. It is also called “Groupe Special Mobile”. 


  • GSM operates with frequency bands such as 900 MHz and 1800 MHz, which work to help identify different communication channels and control the associated protocols. 
  • Uses a SIM card that serves as the user’s account identity. The SIM cards can be transferred from one GSM phone to another, but the phone number will remain the same. 
  • It controls circuit switching traffic and leads all the circuits present in the network to control the upcoming traffic of mobile devices. 
  • It takes a while to connect with different networks when using GSM. It has circuit switching and controls it by using the symmetric mode of transmission. The transmission of data will be monitored and controlled via the circuits included in the network. 
  • In GSM, internet services are not included. This affects communication and makes it difficult to accomplish. Communication is rendered via text messages or calls. 
  • GSM is commonly used in different countries and can also work in remote and far-flung areas as long as there is a base station located nearby. This allows it to be fully utilized by different users all the time. 
  • A single slot is only allowed for every user in the system. 

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The GSM network architecture can be divided into 4 different areas: 

  1. Base station subsystem: An area of the 2G GSM network architecture that is responsible for the communication with the mobile on the network. 
  2. Mobile station: An area of GSM network that is also known as mobile equipment such as cellular or mobile phones is what the user sees and operates with. 
  3. Network and switching subsystem: An area of GSM network that contains different elements and is also known as the core network. It is like a data network that contains different entities that supply the main control and interfacing for the entire mobile network. 
  4. Operation and support subsystem: An element inside the GSM mobile communications network is attached to the components of the network and switching subsystem and the base station controller. It functions to manage the entire GSM network and it is also responsible for managing the traffic load of the base station subsystem.

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Comparison Table between GSM and GPS

Name Global System for Mobile Communications Global Positioning System
Definition GSM stands for Global System for Mobile Communications. It is a particular wireless network infrastructure. Developed by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute in 1991. It is also known as Groupe Special Mobile. GPS stands for “Global Positioning System”. It is a navigation system based on satellites. It was developed by the Department of Defense of the United States of America.
Technology The location of the user will be known by using the strength of the signal and the routing from the base stations.  The routing will be done using 3 to 4 of the 24 satellites set in the orbit of the Earth. 
Accuracy It is capable of giving locations even in areas that are difficult to reach such as tunnels and dense or overpopulated areas.  Can be difficult to accomplish when the user is located in an area enclosed by high-rise buildings.
Mobile tracking The phone can be tracked using a unique identity which is its mobile number. It can help locate the signal of the mobile phone.  A digital map is used to trace the location of the user in real-time. 
  • International roaming, no roaming charges on calls
  • Extensive and worldwide coverage
  • GSM facilities are kept safe and well-protected
  • Devices and facilities are user-friendly
  • Operates in frequency bands such as 450, 850, 900, 1800, and 1900 MHz
  • Gives the correct location
  • Provides real-time positioning
  • Supply the exact latitude and longitude
  • Makes it easy to search the local area for nearby resources 
  • Helps in improving the accuracy and precision of weather forecasts
  • Drop and Missed calls can occur
  • Calls can be interfered with by outside entities
  • Uses too much battery life
  • Can be inaccurate in certain scenarios


GSM functions to collect and deliver data from a central unit through data calls. On the other hand, GPS functions to receive information about a specific location from 3-4 satellites out of 24 satellites. However, it is not capable of communicating with a central unit. 

What Are the Main Differences Between GSM and GPS? 

Accuracy: GPS will need clear views of the sky; it can encounter problems or issues if the specified location is enclosed by tall buildings. GSM provides the location by using the nearby base stations, so even areas like tunnels and dense areas can be reached with no issues. If there are no base stations in the area, the GSM device will not be capable of providing the location. 

Localization: If your electronic device is capable of GPS services, you must turn it on so that you can locate it using the satellites. If the mobile phone does not have a GPS chip or if it is not turned on, the GSM network will calculate the position using the closest base station. It will work and provide the general position while continuing to preserve the phone’s battery life. However, it will not be able to provide as accurate a position as GPS. 

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Mobile Tracking: GPS is a fairly new technology that can be used for mobile tracking. It can track the location of a mobile phone in real-time using digital maps, like Google maps. GSM calculates the location of the mobile phone using its international mobile equipment identity. 

Technology: GPS uses three to four of the 24 satellites that orbit the earth. It is owned by the USA government. All the satellites are responsible for checking and calculating the position of objects or users. The GPS receiver will accept the transmitted signals then it will precisely determine an object’s position. GPS uses multiple electronic devices and functions to calculate a user’s position by using signals and triangulation from its base stations. This is also used by mobile phones.

If you need antennas for your company, you must choose SEI. You can check this link if you want to order antennas. You can contact us by filling up this contact form.  If you need GSM or GPS, you must check out SEI. We are a company that offers high-frequency microwave and RF products. If you need a supplier for antennas and if you have any questions about our company or the products that we are currently offering, please do not hesitate to contact us. You can email us at [email protected]. We are located at 66 First Street #4, Gilroy, CA 95020 USA. Contact us today!