Glossary  >  GSM


Noun, Abbr.

GSM stands for Global System for Mobile communications, originally named Groupe Spécial Mobile. It is a standard developed to describe the protocols for second-generation (2G) cellular networks, established by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI).

GSM was first implemented in Finland in 1991 and by the mid-2010s, it had become the global standard for mobile communication due to its simplicity, affordability, and accessibility. GSM remains the most commonly used networking technology for Internet of Things (IoT) applications.

Originally, GSM represented a digital circuit-switched network optimized for full duplex voice telephony. This standard has evolved to include General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) and Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE), supporting the transmission of data.

The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) developed the 3G Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) standards, which were succeeded by LTE Advanced and eventually 5G standards. However, these newer technologies are not part of the ETSI GSM standard.

GSM is foundational for wireless connectivity and remains crucial for managing mobile phone and IoT device networks, though it struggles to meet modern communications demands. This has led network operators worldwide to start decommissioning older technologies like GSM networks. For instance, AT&T Mobility shut down its GSM network in January 2017.

Example of GSM in a sentence:

"GSM is credited with the proliferation of mobile services like voice, data, and messaging."

Related Terms for GSM: