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What are the differences between TD-SCDMA and WCDMA??

What are the differences between TD-SCDMA and WCDMA?

TD-SCDMA - This is the 3G band which China Mobile uses. TD-SCDMA was designed specifically for the Chinese mainland and is used only by China Mobile. 

WCDMA - WCDMA phones are marketed as China Unicom phones in China, but in actual fact WCDMA models are compatible with a number of international 3G networks. For example, my WCDMA Redmi Note works in Malaysia on Maxis 3G.

*Maxis is one of the Telcos in Malaysia.

Which model should I buy?

Basically if you live outside of China and want to use 3G DO NOT BUY a TD-SCDMA phone. If you have no use for 3G or 3G isn't available then a TD-SCDMA phone might be compatible with GSM frequencies in your country.

Even as someone living in China I would still suggest you avoid TD-SCDMA phones as China Mobile's 3G network is not as good as China Unicom's.

If you are outside of China and want 3G then you have to buy a WCDMA model phone.

Why people buy TD-SCDMA phone?

The only times you might buy a TD-SCDMA phone are:

  • If you live in China.
  • You do not need 3G and the phone you want will work on GSM.
  • You are an early adopter and cannot wait for the WCDMA model to launch*
  • TD-SCDMA proponents also claim it is better suited for densely populated areas.

*China Mobile is the largest carrier on the world. So TD-SCDMA phones often released months before global models.
How to identify a TD-SCDMA phone or WCDMA phone?

Generally the specifications will list if it is a WCDMA or TD-SCDMA phone. You can find this either on the official site, on the packaging and possible on the rear of the phone.

For Xiaomi phones, you can easily identify the network type of the phone by checking the Model Number in Settings > About Phone. For Redmi Note, HM NOTE 1TD means its a TD-SCDMA phone while HM NOTE 1W means its a WCDMA phone. This can be applied to other Xiaomi phones, such as Mi 3 and Mi 3W (An extra W to indicates WCDMA phone).

You can check the wiki for more info!

Hope this article helps to solve your confusion!