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Definition: WCDMA

(Wideband CDMA) A 3G cellular technology that uses the CDMA air interface. WCDMA works on WCDMA cellphones as well as laptops and portable devices with WCDMA modems. Falling under both the UMTS and IMT-2000 umbrellas, WCDMA enables GSM carriers to provide a higher data rate than the EDGE network. Supporting both voice and data, WCDMA provides a modest speed increase, and many GSM operators jumped to HSPA for data, which is also based on WCDMA, while keeping GSM for voice. See HSPA, UMTS and IMT-2000.

Although WCDMA is based on CDMA, its implementation is different. Whereas CDMA uses one or more 1.25 MHz channels, WCDMA uses two 5 MHz channels. WCDMA supports AAC music, AMR speech and MPEG-4 and H.264 video using the .3GP file extension. See cellular generations, Wi-Fi vs. cellular, GSM, CDMA and 3GPP.