Interim Standard 95


Interim Standard 95 (IS-95) is a digital cellular communication standard that was developed by Qualcomm in the early 1990s. IS-95, also known as cdmaOne, utilizes Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) technology for efficient use of bandwidth and improved call quality. This standard marked a significant milestone in the evolution of mobile communication, paving the way for the transition from analog cellular networks to digital ones.


The phonetics of the keyword “Interim Standard 95″ can be represented as:”Interim” – /ˈɪntərɪm/”Standard” – /ˈstændərd/”95″ – /ˌnaɪnˈtaɪv/ or “ninety-five”

Key Takeaways

  1. Interim Standard 95 (IS-95) was the first widely adopted Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) digital cellular standard that revolutionized mobile communications by providing increased network capacity, improved call quality, and advanced functionality.
  2. IS-95, originally known as cdmaOne, enabled simultaneous transmission of voice and data through the usage of spread spectrum technology and achieved better spectrum efficiency with its extensive bandwidth capabilities compared to analog systems and other digital standards at the time.
  3. Although IS-95 has now been superseded by newer and more advanced 3G and 4G technologies, such as CDMA2000 and LTE, its development led to a competitive environment in the cellular industry, promoting technological advancements in both CDMA and GSM-based networks worldwide.


Interim Standard 95 (IS-95) is an important technology term as it marks a significant milestone in the evolution of mobile communication systems, particularly in the field of wireless networks.

Developed in the early 1990s by Qualcomm, IS-95 was the first widely adopted CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) based digital cellular standard.

It revolutionized the mobile telecommunication industry by offering superior call clarity, greater capacity and improved coverage due to its unique spread-spectrum technology.

As a stepping stone to modern networks, IS-95 laid the foundation for subsequent standards, including 3G, 4G and 5G, ultimately paving the way for better and more robust mobile communication networks that we enjoy today.


Interim Standard 95 (IS-95) serves as a key stepping stone in the history and evolution of mobile communication technology. In its time, IS-95 marked a significant leap, offering improved voice quality and heightened capacity, laying a solid foundation for the growth of wireless services. As the first widely adopted Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) standard in North America, IS-95 represented a paradigm shift from the existing Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) and Frequency Division Multiple Access (FDMA) systems.

Designed by Qualcomm in the early 1990s, this pioneering technology focused on delivering seamless and efficient mobile services, which directly addressed spectrum allocation constraints, and hence played an instrumental role in the rapid expansion of mobile phone usage. IS-95 enabled remarkable enhancements in call clarity and spectral efficiency over previous analog systems. It efficiently allocated radio frequency resources, offering users a better mobile experience marked by fewer dropped calls and more simultaneous connections.

Deployed mostly across North America and parts of East Asia during the 2G cellular generation, it later evolved into CDMA2000 and its subsequent derivatives. Its superior interference management capabilities also spurred broad technological advancements in wireless technology. By fostering the ongoing evolution of mobile communication infrastructure, IS-95 proved to be a vital catalyst in propelling us toward the connected world we live in today.

Examples of Interim Standard 95

Interim Standard-95 (IS-95), also known as cdmaOne, is a 2G mobile communication standard developed by Qualcomm in the early 1990s. It uses Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) technology to provide voice, data, and messaging services over cellular networks. Here are three real-world examples of IS-95 technology being used:

The first commercial cdmaOne network:In 1995, the first IS-95-based commercial cdmaOne network was launched by Hutchison Telecom in Hong Kong, followed by a US deployment by Sprint in

This marked the beginning of a new era in wireless communication and led to the widespread adoption of CDMA technology in various markets.

Rural Wireless Connectivity:In remote and rural areas where the installation of wired infrastructure was challenging, the IS-95-based networks provided an affordable and efficient means of communication. This helped improve the lives of people living in these areas by providing them with access to essential services such as emergency calls, banking, and more.

Improved voice quality and capacity:IS-95 allowed for simultaneous conversations and data transfers on the same frequency band, improving network capacity and reducing interference. This led to a significant improvement in the overall voice quality and made mobile communication more reliable for users. Multiple carriers, such as Verizon and Sprint, utilized cdmaOne networks to provide voice and data services to millions of subscribers.

Interim Standard 95 (IS-95) FAQ

What is Interim Standard 95 (IS-95)?

Interim Standard 95 (IS-95) is a 2G digital mobile communication standard developed by Qualcomm. It was the first standard to use the Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) technology for transmitting digital voice and data over cellular networks. IS-95, also known as cdmaOne, was introduced in 1995 and provided higher call quality and capacity compared to other 2G standards at the time.

What does CDMA stand for, and how does it work?

CDMA stands for Code Division Multiple Access. It is a digital cellular technology that facilitates multiple users to share the same frequency band simultaneously by assigning unique codes to each user. CDMA uses spread spectrum techniques to ensure that signals from different users do not interfere with each other. This technology effectively increases network capacity and allows for a more efficient use of available bandwidth compared to other technologies like Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) and Frequency Division Multiple Access (FDMA).

How is IS-95 different from other 2G standards like GSM?

IS-95, based on CDMA technology, differs from the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM), which is a 2G standard that uses Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) technology. The main difference lies in the way they allocate channels for voice and data transmission. GSM divides the frequency bands into time slots for each user, while IS-95 assigns unique codes to each user and allows simultaneous usage of the frequency band. CDMA-based IS-95 provides higher capacity, better call quality, and improved coverage compared to GSM.

What are the advantages of IS-95 over other 2G standards?

IS-95 offers several advantages over other 2G standards such as:

  • Higher capacity and better call quality through CDMA technology
  • More efficient use of available spectrum
  • Increased coverage and signal strength due to the soft handoff feature, which provides seamless connectivity between cell sites
  • Greater resistance to interference and better privacy due to the use of spread spectrum techniques

Is IS-95 still in use today?

While IS-95 was revolutionary in its time, it has now been replaced by more advanced technologies like 3G and 4G (and currently 5G) cellular standards. However, there may still be some parts of the world where IS-95 networks are operational due to their robustness and legacy installations. In general, though, mobile carriers have shifted towards newer technologies for better performance, capacity, and features.

Related Technology Terms

  • Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA)
  • 2G Cellular Networks
  • Qualcomm
  • Mobile Communications
  • Wireless Spectrum

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