GSM and IDEN similarities

Matthew Carpenter mcarpenter at
Sat Jul 5 21:02:34 CEST 2008

Hey all,

I've been considering a project to hack the FreeRunner to work on my Nextel 
network.  The information I'm finding seems to suggest that GSM and iDEN are 
somewhat related.  Both use SIM-cards and TDMA, and iDEN even uses GSM 
signaling for call setup (according to Wikipedia).  Whatever changes past 
that I do not yet know.

Before I delve too deeply into this project, does anyone have any knowledge 
about how different the network technologies are, and how modular is the 
radio design of the openmoko device?  ie.  If I swap out one comms chip with 
another, how much of the existing infrastructure has to change?  Do I even 
need to swap out the ICs?  Is iDEN simply a superset of GSM?

Why do I care?  Because I work mostly out of my home, and I live in a place 
where only Nextel covers at all well.  I'm contemplating engaging in a new 
contract with Nextel but would like a great phone too.


Matthew Carpenter
mcarpenter at

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