What Is EDGE Cellphone Technology

EDGE is a faster version of GSM technology

Man holding iPhone

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EDGE (Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution) is a speed and latency advancement in GSM technology. GSM, which stands for Global System for Mobile communications, reigns as the world’s most widely used cellphone technology. It is used by AT&T and T-Mobile.

The competing mobile phone technology, CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) is used by Sprint, Verizon, and US Cellular. This is why many AT&T phones do not work with Verizon service and vice versa.

The EDGE Advancement

EDGE is a faster version of GSM—a high-speed 3G technology that was built to the GSM standard. EDGE networks were designed to deliver multimedia applications such as streaming television, audio, and video to mobile phones at speeds of up to 384 Kbps. Although EDGE is three times as fast as GSM, its speed still pales in comparison to standard DSL and high-speed cable internet.

The EDGE standard was first launched in the United States in 2003 by Cingular, which is now AT&T, and meant to expand upon the GSM standard. AT&T, T-Mobile, and Rogers Wireless in Canada all use EDGE networks.

Other names for EDGE technology include IMT Single Carrier (IMT-SC), Enhanced GPRS (EGPRS), and Enhanced Data Rates for Global Evolution.

EDGE Usage and Evolution

The original iPhone, which launched in 2007, is an example of an EDGE-compatible phone. Since that release, an enhanced version of EDGE has been developed. Evolved EDGE is more than twice as fast as original EDGE technology. 

  • Is EDGE a cellular network?

    While EDGE may appear at the top of an iPhone, like a cellular provider would, it's a technology like 3G, 4G, or 5G and not a cellular network, like Verizon or AT&T. However, it is a GSM technology, meaning not all cellular providers will support the technology.

  • Can you turn off EDGE?

    Yes. Enabling Airplane Mode on your device will temporarily disable cellular connectivity. This means that technologies like EDGE, 3G, 4G, or 5G will be temporarily turned off.

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