Analog vs. Digital Cellular Phones
Cellular phones are an amazing modern convenience, but it can be confusing for consumers to distinguish between the various options available. There are two main types of cellular phones: analog and digital. Each type operates slightly differently and has its own unique advantages and disadvantages.
The first cellular phones were analog phones. Analog phones are basically an extremely sophisticated radio and telephone combination. The main advantage of analog cellular phones is that they cost less than the newer digital phones. Analog phones are also a better choice for travelers, since 95 percent of the county is equipped for their use. The drawbacks of choosing an analog phone are the reduced sound quality and the slightly higher per minute rate.
Digital cellular phones use the same basic technology as an analog phone. The difference is that digital phones use binary code and compression to fit more calls into a given bandwidth. Digital cellular phones offer longer battery life, better signals, and cheaper calling rates. The main disadvantage of digital cellular phones is that many parts of the country aren't equipped with the proper antennae to receive digital signals. This makes digital cellular phones inappropriate for frequent travelers or individuals who live in rural areas.
Sprint often uses the term PCS in their promotional materials. PCS stands for Personal Communications Service and is a wireless communications service very similar to cellular phone services. Many people use the term PCS as a synonym for a digital cellular phone, but a true PCS phone offers additional services such as caller ID, paging, and e-mail as part of its regular phone service.
Newer cellular phone models may offer a dual mode feature. This option allows you to automatically switch between analog and digital modes depending upon what antennae are in your range. Dual mode phones combine the advantages of both analog and digital cellular phones.