The Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) is a standard developed by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) to describe the protocols for second-generation (2G) digital cellular networks used by mobile devices such as mobile phones and tablets. It was first deployed in Finland in December 1991.By the mid-2010s, it became a global standard for mobile communications achieving over 90% market share, and operating in over 193 countries and territories.
2G is short for second-generation cellular technology. 2G cellular networks were commercially launched on the GSM standard in Finland by Radiolinja in 1991.
A cellular network or mobile network is a communication network where the last link is wireless. The network is distributed over land areas called "cells", each served by at least one fixed-location transceiver, but more normally, three cell sites or base transceiver stations. These base stations provide the cell with the network coverage which can be used for transmission of voice, data, and other types of content. A cell typically uses a different set of frequencies from neighbouring cells, to avoid interference and provide guaranteed service quality within each cell.
2G networks developed as a replacement for first generation (1G) analog cellular networks. The GSM standard originally described a digital, circuit-switched network optimized for full duplex voice telephony. This expanded over time to include data communications, first by circuit-switched transport, then by packet data transport via General Packet Radio Service (GPRS), and Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE).
1G refers to the first generation of wireless cellular technology. These are the analog telecommunications standards that were introduced in the 1980s and continued until being replaced by 2G digital telecommunications. The main difference between the two mobile cellular systems, is that the radio signals used by 1G networks are analog, while 2G networks are digital.
Telephony is the field of technology involving the development, application, and deployment of telecommunication services for the purpose of electronic transmission of voice, fax, or data, between distant parties. The history of telephony is intimately linked to the invention and development of the telephone.
In communications, Circuit Switched Data (CSD) is the original form of data transmission developed for the time-division multiple access (TDMA)-based mobile phone systems like Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM). After 2010 many telecommunication carriers dropped support for CSD, and CSD has been superseded by GPRS and EDGE (E-GPRS).
Subsequently, the 3GPP developed third-generation (3G) UMTS standards, followed by fourth-generation (4G) LTE Advanced standards, which do not form part of the ETSI GSM standard.
The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) is a standards organization which develops protocols for mobile telephony. Its best known work is the development and maintenance of:
The Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) is a third generation mobile cellular system for networks based on the GSM standard. Developed and maintained by the 3GPP, UMTS is a component of the International Telecommunications Union IMT-2000 standard set and compares with the CDMA2000 standard set for networks based on the competing cdmaOne technology. UMTS uses wideband code division multiple access (W-CDMA) radio access technology to offer greater spectral efficiency and bandwidth to mobile network operators.
4G is the fourth generation of broadband cellular network technology, succeeding 3G. A 4G system must provide capabilities defined by ITU in IMT Advanced. Potential and current applications include amended mobile web access, IP telephony, gaming services, high-definition mobile TV, video conferencing, and 3D television.
"GSM" is a trade mark owned by the GSM Association. It may also refer to the (initially) most common voice codec used, Full Rate.
Full Rate was the first digital speech coding standard used in the GSM digital mobile phone system. The bit rate of the codec is 13 kbit/s, or 1.625 bits/audio sample. The quality of the coded speech is quite poor by modern standards, but at the time of development it was a good compromise between computational complexity and quality, requiring only on the order of a million additions and multiplications per second. The codec is still widely used in networks around the world. Gradually FR will be replaced by Enhanced Full Rate (EFR) and Adaptive Multi-Rate (AMR) standards, which provide much higher speech quality with lower bit rate.
In 1983, work began to develop a European standard for digital cellular voice telecommunications when the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) set up the Groupe Spécial Mobile (GSM) committee and later provided a permanent technical-support group based in Paris. Five years later, in 1987, 15 representatives from 13 European countries signed a memorandum of understanding in Copenhagen to develop and deploy a common cellular telephone system across Europe, and EU rules were passed to make GSM a mandatory standard.The decision to develop a continental standard eventually resulted in a unified, open, standard-based network which was larger than that in the United States.
The European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) was established on June 26, 1959, as a coordinating body for European state telecommunications and postal organizations. The acronym comes from the French version of its name Conférence européenne des administrations des postes et des télécommunications.
Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometres and an official estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 1 January 2019. Since the 17th century, Paris has been one of Europe's major centres of finance, diplomacy, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts. The City of Paris is the centre and seat of government of the Île-de-France, or Paris Region, which has an estimated official 2019 population of 12,213,364, or about 18 percent of the population of France. The Paris Region had a GDP of €709 billion in 2017. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit Worldwide Cost of Living Survey in 2018, Paris was the second most expensive city in the world, after Singapore, and ahead of Zürich, Hong Kong, Oslo and Geneva. Another source ranked Paris as most expensive, on a par with Singapore and Hong Kong, in 2018.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) is a type of agreement between two (bilateral) or more (multilateral) parties. It expresses a convergence of will between the parties, indicating an intended common line of action. It is often used either in cases where parties do not imply a legal commitment or in situations where the parties cannot create a legally enforceable agreement. It is a more formal alternative to a gentlemen's agreement.
In February 1987 Europe produced the very first agreed GSM Technical Specification. Ministers from the four big EU countries cemented their political support for GSM with the Bonn Declaration on Global Information Networks in May and the GSM MoU was tabled for signature in September. The MoU drew in mobile operators from across Europe to pledge to invest in new GSM networks to an ambitious common date.
In this short 38-week period the whole of Europe (countries and industries) had been brought behind GSM in a rare unity and speed guided by four public officials: Armin Silberhorn (Germany), Stephen Temple (UK), Philippe Dupuis (France), and Renzo Failli (Italy).In 1989 the Groupe Spécial Mobile committee was transferred from CEPT to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI).
In parallel France and Germany signed a joint development agreement in 1984 and were joined by Italy and the UK in 1986. In 1986, the European Commission proposed reserving the 900 MHz spectrum band for GSM. The former Finnish prime minister Harri Holkeri made the world's first GSM call on July 1, 1991, calling Kaarina Suonio (deputy mayor of the city of Tampere) using a network built by Telenokia and Siemens and operated by Radiolinja. The following year saw the sending of the first short messaging service (SMS or "text message") message, and Vodafone UK and Telecom Finland signed the first international roaming agreement.
Work began in 1991 to expand the GSM standard to the 1800 MHz frequency band and the first 1800 MHz network became operational in the UK by 1993, called and DCS 1800. Also that year, Telecom Australia became the first network operator to deploy a GSM network outside Europe and the first practical hand-held GSM mobile phone became available.
In 1995 fax, data and SMS messaging services were launched commercially, the first 1900 MHz GSM network became operational in the United States and GSM subscribers worldwide exceeded 10 million. In the same year, the GSM Association formed. Pre-paid GSM SIM cards were launched in 1996 and worldwide GSM subscribers passed 100 million in 1998.
In 2000 the first commercial GPRS services were launched and the first GPRS-compatible handsets became available for sale. In 2001, the first UMTS (W-CDMA) network was launched, a 3G technology that is not part of GSM. Worldwide GSM subscribers exceeded 500 million. In 2002, the first Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) was introduced and the first GSM network in the 800 MHz frequency band became operational. EDGE services first became operational in a network in 2003, and the number of worldwide GSM subscribers exceeded 1 billion in 2004.
By 2005 GSM networks accounted for more than 75% of the worldwide cellular network market, serving 1.5 billion subscribers. In 2005, the first HSDPA-capable network also became operational. The first HSUPA network launched in 2007. (High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA) and its uplink and downlink versions are 3G technologies, not part of GSM.) Worldwide GSM subscribers exceeded three billion in 2008.
The GSM Association estimated in 2010 that technologies defined in the GSM standard served 80% of the mobile market, encompassing more than 5 billion people across more than 212 countries and territories, making GSM the most ubiquitous of the many standards for cellular networks.
GSM is a second-generation (2G) standard employing time-division multiple-Access (TDMA) spectrum-sharing, issued by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI). The GSM standard does not include the 3G Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) code division multiple access (CDMA) technology nor the 4G LTE orthogonal frequency-division multiple access (OFDMA) technology standards issued by the 3GPP.
GSM, for the first time, set a common standard for Europe for wireless networks. It was also adopted by many countries outside Europe. This allowed subscribers to use other GSM networks that have roaming agreements with each other. The common standard reduced research and development costs, since hardware and software could be sold with only minor adaptations for the local market.
Telstra in Australia shut down its 2G GSM network on December 1, 2016, the first mobile network operator to decommission a GSM network.The second mobile provider to shut down its GSM network (on January 1, 2017) was AT&T Mobility from the United States. Optus in Australia completed the shut down its 2G GSM network on August 1, 2017, part of the Optus GSM network covering Western Australia and the Northern Territory had earlier in the year been shut down in April 2017. Singapore shut down 2G services entirely in April 2017.
The network is structured into several discrete sections:
GSM is a cellular network, which means that cell phones connect to it by searching for cells in the immediate vicinity. There are five different cell sizes in a GSM network—macro, micro, pico, femto, and umbrella cells. The coverage area of each cell varies according to the implementation environment. Macro cells can be regarded as cells where the base station antenna is installed on a mast or a building above average rooftop level. Micro cells are cells whose antenna height is under average rooftop level; they are typically used in urban areas. Picocells are small cells whose coverage diameter is a few dozen meters; they are mainly used indoors. Femtocells are cells designed for use in residential or small business environments and connect to the service provider’s network via a broadband internet connection. Umbrella cells are used to cover shadowed regions of smaller cells and fill in gaps in coverage between those cells.
Cell horizontal radius varies depending on antenna height, antenna gain, and propagation conditions from a couple of hundred meters to several tens of kilometers. The longest distance the GSM specification supports in practical use is 35 kilometres (22 mi). There are also several implementations of the concept of an extended cell, where the cell radius could be double or even more, depending on the antenna system, the type of terrain, and the timing advance.
Indoor coverage is also supported by GSM and may be achieved by using an indoor picocell base station, or an indoor repeater with distributed indoor antennas fed through power splitters, to deliver the radio signals from an antenna outdoors to the separate indoor distributed antenna system. These are typically deployed when significant call capacity is needed indoors, like in shopping centers or airports. However, this is not a prerequisite, since indoor coverage is also provided by in-building penetration of the radio signals from any nearby cell.
GSM networks operate in a number of different carrier frequency ranges (separated into GSM frequency ranges for 2G and UMTS frequency bands for 3G), with most 2G GSM networks operating in the 900 MHz or 1800 MHz bands. Where these bands were already allocated, the 850 MHz and 1900 MHz bands were used instead (for example in Canada and the United States). In rare cases the 400 and 450 MHz frequency bands are assigned in some countries because they were previously used for first-generation systems.
For comparison most 3G networks in Europe operate in the 2100 MHz frequency band. For more information on worldwide GSM frequency usage, see GSM frequency bands.
Regardless of the frequency selected by an operator, it is divided into timeslots for individual phones. This allows eight full-rate or sixteen half-rate speech channels per radio frequency. These eight radio timeslots (or burst periods) are grouped into a TDMA frame. Half-rate channels use alternate frames in the same timeslot. The channel data rate for all 8 channels is 270.833 kbit/s, and the frame duration is 4.615 ms.
The transmission power in the handset is limited to a maximum of 2 watts in GSM 850/900 and 1 watt in GSM 1800/1900.
GSM has used a variety of voice codecs to squeeze 3.1 kHz audio into between 7 and 13 kbit/s. Originally, two codecs, named after the types of data channel they were allocated, were used, called Half Rate (6.5 kbit/s) and Full Rate (13 kbit/s). These used a system based on linear predictive coding (LPC). In addition to being efficient with bitrate s, these codecs also made it easier to identify more important parts of the audio, allowing the air interface layer to prioritize and better protect these parts of the signal. GSM was further enhanced in 1997 with the enhanced full rate (EFR) codec, a 12.2 kbit/s codec that uses a full-rate channel. Finally, with the development of UMTS, EFR was refactored into a variable-rate codec called AMR-Narrowband, which is high quality and robust against interference when used on full-rate channels, or less robust but still relatively high quality when used in good radio conditions on half-rate channel.
One of the key features of GSM is the Subscriber Identity Module, commonly known as a SIM card. The SIM is a detachable smart card containing the user's subscription information and phone book. This allows the user to retain his or her information after switching handsets. Alternatively, the user can change operators while retaining the handset simply by changing the SIM. Some operators will block this by allowing the phone to use only a single SIM, or only a SIM issued by them; this practice is known as SIM locking.
Sometimes mobile network operators restrict handsets that they sell for exclusive use in their own network. This is called SIM locking and is implemented by a software feature of the phone. A subscriber may usually contact the provider to remove the lock for a fee, utilize private services to remove the lock, or use software and websites to unlock the handset themselves. It is possible to hack past a phone locked by a network operator.
In some countries (e.g., Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Iran, Lebanon, Malaysia, Nepal, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand) all phones are sold unlocked due to the abundance of dual SIM handsets and operators.
GSM was intended to be a secure wireless system. It has considered the user authentication using a pre-shared key and challenge-response, and over-the-air encryption. However, GSM is vulnerable to different types of attack, each of them aimed at a different part of the network.
The development of UMTS introduced an optional Universal Subscriber Identity Module (USIM), that uses a longer authentication key to give greater security, as well as mutually authenticating the network and the user, whereas GSM only authenticates the user to the network (and not vice versa). The security model therefore offers confidentiality and authentication, but limited authorization capabilities, and no non-repudiation.
GSM uses several cryptographic algorithms for security. The A5/1, A5/2, and A5/3 stream ciphers are used for ensuring over-the-air voice privacy. A5/1 was developed first and is a stronger algorithm used within Europe and the United States; A5/2 is weaker and used in other countries. Serious weaknesses have been found in both algorithms: it is possible to break A5/2 in real-time with a ciphertext-only attack, and in January 2007, The Hacker's Choice started the A5/1 cracking project with plans to use FPGAs that allow A5/1 to be broken with a rainbow table attack.The system supports multiple algorithms so operators may replace that cipher with a stronger one.
Since 2000 different efforts have been made in order to crack the A5 encryption algorithms. Both A5/1 and A5/2 algorithms have been broken, and their cryptanalysis has been revealed in the literature. As an example, Karsten Nohl developed a number of rainbow tables (static values which reduce the time needed to carry out an attack) and have found new sources for known plaintext attacks.He said that it is possible to build "a full GSM interceptor...from open-source components" but that they had not done so because of legal concerns. Nohl claimed that he was able to intercept voice and text conversations by impersonating another user to listen to voicemail, make calls, or send text messages using a seven-year-old Motorola cellphone and decryption software available for free online.
GSM uses General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) for data transmissions like browsing the web. The most commonly deployed GPRS ciphers were publicly broken in 2011.
The researchers revealed flaws in the commonly used GEA/1 and GEA/2 ciphers and published the open-source "gprsdecode" software for sniffing GPRS networks. They also noted that some carriers do not encrypt the data (i.e., using GEA/0) in order to detect the use of traffic or protocols they do not like (e.g., Skype), leaving customers unprotected. GEA/3 seems to remain relatively hard to break and is said to be in use on some more modern networks. If used with USIM to prevent connections to fake base stations and downgrade attacks, users will be protected in the medium term, though migration to 128-bit GEA/4 is still recommended.
The GSM systems and services are described in a set of standards governed by ETSI, where a full list is maintained.
Several open source software projects exist that provide certain GSM features:
Patents remain a problem for any open-source GSM implementation, because it is not possible for GNU or any other free software distributor to guarantee immunity from all lawsuits by the patent holders against the users. Furthermore, new features are being added to the standard all the time which means they have patent protection for a number of years.[ citation needed ]
The original GSM implementations from 1991 may now be entirely free of patent encumbrances, however patent freedom is not certain due to the United States' "first to invent" system that was in place until 2012. The "first to invent" system, coupled with "patent term adjustment" can extend the life of a U.S. patent far beyond 20 years from its priority date. It is unclear at this time whether OpenBTS will be able to implement features of that initial specification without limit. As patents subsequently expire, however, those features can be added into the open-source version. As of 2011 [update] , there have been no lawsuits against users of OpenBTS over GSM use.[ citation needed ]
Advanced Mobile Phone System (AMPS) was an analog mobile phone system standard developed by Bell Labs, and officially introduced in the Americas on October 13, 1983, Israel in 1986, Australia in 1987, Singapore in 1988, and Pakistan in 1990. It was the primary analog mobile phone system in North America through the 1980s and into the 2000s. As of February 18, 2008, carriers in the United States were no longer required to support AMPS and companies such as AT&T and Verizon Communications have discontinued this service permanently. AMPS was discontinued in Australia in September 2000, in Pakistan by October 2004,, in Israel by January 2010, and Brazil by 2010.
General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) is a packet oriented mobile data standard on the 2G and 3G cellular communication network's global system for mobile communications (GSM). GPRS was established by European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) in response to the earlier CDPD and i-mode packet-switched cellular technologies. It is now maintained by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP).
Time-division multiple access (TDMA) is a channel access method for shared-medium networks. It allows several users to share the same frequency channel by dividing the signal into different time slots. The users transmit in rapid succession, one after the other, each using its own time slot. This allows multiple stations to share the same transmission medium while using only a part of its channel capacity. TDMA is used in the digital 2G cellular systems such as Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM), IS-136, Personal Digital Cellular (PDC) and iDEN, and in the Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications (DECT) standard for portable phones. TDMA was first used in satellite communication systems by Western Union in its Westar 3 communications satellite in 1979. It is now used extensively in satellite communications, combat-net radio systems, and passive optical network (PON) networks for upstream traffic from premises to the operator. For usage of Dynamic TDMA packet mode communication, see below.
In telecommunication, a Public Land Mobile Network (PLMN) is a combination of wireless communication services offered by a specific operator in a specific country. A PLMN typically consists of several cellular technologies like GSM/2G, UMTS/3G, LTE/4G, offered by a single operator within a given country, often referred to as a cellular network.
A subscriber identity module or subscriber identification module (SIM), widely known as a SIM card, is an integrated circuit that is intended to securely store the international mobile subscriber identity (IMSI) number and its related key, which are used to identify and authenticate subscribers on mobile telephony devices. It is also possible to store contact information on many SIM cards. SIM cards are always used on GSM phones; for CDMA phones, they are only needed for newer LTE-capable handsets. SIM cards can also be used in satellite phones, smart watches, computers, or cameras.
Network switching subsystem (NSS) is the component of a GSM system that carries out call out and mobility management functions for mobile phones roaming on the network of base stations. It is owned and deployed by mobile phone operators and allows mobile devices to communicate with each other and telephones in the wider public switched telephone network (PSTN). The architecture contains specific features and functions which are needed because the phones are not fixed in one location.
Adaptive Multi-Rate Wideband (AMR-WB) is a patented wideband speech audio coding standard developed based on Adaptive Multi-Rate encoding, using similar methodology as algebraic code excited linear prediction (ACELP). AMR-WB provides improved speech quality due to a wider speech bandwidth of 50–7000 Hz compared to narrowband speech coders which in general are optimized for POTS wireline quality of 300–3400 Hz. AMR-WB was developed by Nokia and VoiceAge and it was first specified by 3GPP.
GSM frequency bands or frequency ranges are the cellular frequencies designated by the ITU for the operation of GSM mobile phones and other mobile devices.
The universal integrated circuit card (UICC) is the smart card used in mobile terminals in GSM and UMTS networks. The UICC ensures the integrity and security of all kinds of personal data, and it typically holds a few hundred kilobytes.
Node B is the telecommunications node in particular mobile communication networks, namely those that adhere to the UMTS standard. The Node B provides the connection between mobile phones (UEs) and the wider telephone network. UMTS is the dominating 3G standard.
The Mobile Application Part (MAP) is an SS7 protocol that provides an application layer for the various nodes in GSM and UMTS mobile core networks and GPRS core networks to communicate with each other in order to provide services to users. The Mobile Application Part is the application-layer protocol used to access the Home Location Register, Visitor Location Register, Mobile Switching Center, Equipment Identity Register, Authentication Centre, Short message service center and Serving GPRS Support Node (SGSN).
Generic Access Network (GAN) is a protocol that extends mobile voice, data and multimedia applications over IP networks. Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA) is the commercial name used by mobile carriers for external IP access into their core networks. The latest generation system is named Wi-Fi Calling or VoWiFi by a number of handset manufacturers, including Apple and Samsung, a move that is being mirrored by carriers like T-Mobile US and Vodafone. The service is dependant on IMS, IPsec and ePDG.
Cell Broadcast (CB) is a method of sending messages to multiple mobile telephone users in a defined area at the same time. It is defined by the ETSI’s GSM committee and 3GPP and is part of the 2G, 3G, 4G LTE (telecommunication) and 5G standards. It is also known as Short Message Service-Cell Broadcast (SMS-CB).
SIM Application Toolkit (STK) is a standard of the GSM system which enables the subscriber identity module to initiate actions which can be used for various value-added services. Similar standards exist for other network and card systems, with the USIM Application Toolkit (USAT) for USIMs used by newer-generation networks being an example. A more general name for this class of Java Card-based applications running on UICC cards is the Card Application Toolkit (CAT).
A mobile phone signal is the signal strength received by a mobile phone from a cellular network. Depending on various factors, such as proximity to a tower, any obstructions such as buildings or trees, etc. this signal strength will vary. Most mobile devices use a set of bars of increasing height to display the approximate strength of this received signal to the mobile phone user. Traditionally five bars are used.
In telecommunication, Long-Term Evolution (LTE) is a standard for wireless broadband communication for mobile devices and data terminals, based on the GSM/EDGE and UMTS/HSPA technologies. It increases the capacity and speed using a different radio interface together with core network improvements. The standard is developed by the 3GPP and is specified in its Release 8 document series, with minor enhancements described in Release 9. LTE is the upgrade path for carriers with both GSM/UMTS networks and CDMA2000 networks. The different LTE frequencies and bands used in different countries mean that only multi-band phones are able to use LTE in all countries where it is supported.
Cellular frequencies are the sets of frequency ranges within the ultra high frequency band that have been assigned for cellular-compatible mobile devices, such as mobile phones, to connect to cellular networks. Most mobile networks worldwide use portions of the radio frequency spectrum, allocated to the mobile service, for the transmission and reception of their signals. The particular bands may also be shared with other radiocommunication services, e.g. broadcasting service, and fixed service operation.
[...] here's what [Yngve Zetterstrom, rapporteur of the Maketing and Planning (MP) group of the MoU (Memorandum of Understanding group, later to become the GSM Association (GSMA)) in 1989] had to say to solve the mystery: '[The dots symbolize] three [clients] in the home network and one roaming client.' There you go, an answer from the prime source!
Before GSM, Europe had a disastrous mishmash of national analogue standards in phones and TV, designed to protect national industries but instead creating fragmented markets vulnerable to big guns from abroad.
GSM was designed principally for voice telephony, but a range of bearer services was defined...allowing circuit-switched data connections at up to 9600 bits/s.
1982 Groupe Speciale Mobile (GSM) is formed by the Confederation of European Posts and Telecommunications (CEPT) to design a pan-European mobile technology.
The task was entrusted to a committee known as Groupe Spécial Mobile (GSMTM), aided by a "permanent nucleus" of technical support personnel, based in Paris.
Before GSM, Europe had a disastrous mishmash of national analogue standards in phones and TV, designed to protect national industries but instead creating fragmented markets vulnerable to big guns from abroad.
Harri Holkeri made the first call on the Radiolinja (Elisa's subsidiary) network, at the opening ceremony in Helsinki on 07.01.1991.
Nohl said that he was able to intercept voice and text conversations by impersonating another user to listen to their voice mails or make calls or send text messages. Even more troubling was that he was able to pull this off using a seven-year-old Motorola cellphone and decryption software available free off the Internet.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to GSM Standard .|