What is the difference between GSM and GPRS?

Let us understand what GSM is.


GSM represents Global Systems for Mobile Communications. It is the fundamental standard-bearer of 2G technologies. It is generally used in mobile communication. Short Messaging System (SMS) was introduced into GSM networks along with the capability to download content from multiple service providers. The content can ringtone, logos, and image messages. It can provide Voice telephony and data however the data cost is only 9.6Kb/s that is a very low bit cost for date communication.


GPRS represents General Packet Radio Service. It can be used to provide higher information speed over GSM. It is not the restoration of GSM. It is only an extension to the previous GSM technology to gain quicker speed. Multimedia Messaging System or MMS is the characteristic of GPRS.

It enabled subscribers to share videos, pictures, or sound clips with each other just like text communication. GPRS also supports mobile handsets the ability to surf the web at dial-up speeds through WAP allowed sites. GPRS provides a higher bit cost (up to 171kb/s) by the usage of a packet-connected technology over GSM.

GPRS is a packet-oriented mobile data protocol that enables the network to share IP packages with outside networks. This service is consistent with 2G and 3G networks.

GPRS usage is generally charged depending on the volume of data shared, compared to the previous billed per minute of connected time. The GPRS delivers a flow of new characteristics such as multimedia messaging service (MMS), web access, push-to-talk services (walkie-talkie), and the current boom of web applications.


The major differences between GSM and GPRS are as follows −

GSM represents Global Systems for Mobile Communications.GPRS represents General Packet Radio Service.
GSM is superior at controlling circuit switching traffic and handles all the circuits in the network to control the traffic of the mobile devices.GPRS is superior at handling packets and even the data is shared in the form of packets. Therefore, the traffic is also controlled as packets and handles the packets in the network of GPRS.
GSM is used in circuit switching traffic.GPRS is used for packet switching traffic.
GSM is used in almost all countries and remote locations. Therefore, GSM supports its service to the users.GPRS services cannot be provided in all the countries and remote locations. This creates GPRS confined to developed areas with a suitable network connection.
Internet service is not supported in GSM and this creates communication harder in the system. Communication has to be completed through messages or calls.Internet services are supported in GPRS and this is completed with wireless systems. Therefore the internet can be used even in remote locations and communication is completed through emails or other messaging services with the internet.

Updated on: 17-Nov-2021

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