Dual-Mode Device

What Does Dual-Mode Device Mean?

A dual-mode device is a mobile computing device that provides voice and data connectivity to both cellular communication and Wi-Fi. These devices allow mobile workers to carry fewer devices by using converged data and voice applications.


Dual-mode devices can operate on two different forms of data transmission or network. They have two types of cellular radios: code division multiple access (CDMA) and Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) for voice and data transmission.

Dual-mode devices are also known as dual-mode mobile devices.

Techopedia Explains Dual-Mode Device

The three types of dual-mode mobile devices are network compatible; cellular and non-cellular radios; and wired devices. Network compatible devices use CDMA and GSM technologies for voice and data transmission. Phones that adhere to these technologies are known as global phones. Examples of such phones are the Spice D1111 and Samsung SCH-a790. These dual-mode handsets are considered to be two phones in one device. They are widely used in countries that have both GSM and CDMA networks or international CDMA roamers, which need single handsets with two different numbers on them. Dual-mode devices (especially handsets) require two identifying cards.

Dual-mode devices contain cellular and non-cellular radios, which are used for data and voice communication. They contain GSM, CDMA and W-CDMA, in addition to other technologies such as the IEEE 802.11 radio or the digital enhanced cordless telecommunication (DECT) radio. Such phones are used as cellular phones when connected to wide area cellular networks or as a Wi-Fi/DECT phone within range of Wi-Fi or DECT networks. These operation methods reduce costs and improve coverage and data access speeds.

Wired phones with Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and plain old telephone service technology are used to make VoIP calls and are used for phones on circuit-switched networks. These phones need compatible routers and a modem to make VoIP calls.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.