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Modes definition

Many phones are advertised as being "tri-mode" or "dual-band", etc. These refer to the combination of technologies and frequency bands the phone supports.

AMPS is the analog technology, which has inferior features and quality, but often superior coverage. Digital technologies include CDMA, TDMA, and GSM.

The two frequency bands in the US are 850 MHz (Cellular) and 1900 MHz (PCS). Europe and many other parts of the world use 900 MHz and 1800 MHz. The 850 MHz band is also sometimes referred to as 800, most often when referring to the "CDMA 800" mode.

As an example, a CDMA tri-mode phone would support AMPS 850, CDMA 850, and CDMA 1900. That means it would work in both frequency bands in digital, and also work in analog (which is only 850 MHz.) The same is true for TDMA.

A dual-mode CDMA phone could be either AMPS 850 / CDMA 1900, or AMPS 850 / CDMA 850. Same for TDMA.

GSM is the dominant standard in Europe and many other parts of the world, and so there are also dual-band and tri-band GSM "world" phones that support GSM 1900 and one or both of the European frequency bands.
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