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Theoretically, CDMA has the best in-building coverage due to a greater tolerance of weak signals. In practice, you will probably be able to use a CDMA phone A LITTLE DEEPER inside a building than with GSM, IS-136, or iDEN, but there is a far more important factor at work here.

Networks can provide excellent in-building coverage by means of indoor picocells (or enhancers). Most of the Toronto PCS providers have coverage in Toronto's underground concourses (known as the PATH system) using these picocells. In the absence of such cells however, the ability to penetrate a building is highly dependent upon the proximity of the closest site. You can check my maps to see how close a site is to the building you wish to use your phone in.

Statistically speaking, Rogers (who has the most sites) should provide in-building coverage in more places than Mike (who has the least). However, a secondary factor plays a part here too. Because of the huge number of sites Rogers have, they must greatly reduce the range of each site to avoid interference. This means you must be much closer to one of their sites to get descent in-building signals. Mike can keep the output of their sites relatively high, and you can be further away and still get good in-building coverage.

CDMA systems have one peculiarity that does not affect GSM, IS-136, or iDEN. As the number of subscribers using a particular site goes up, the range of that site goes down. This is difficult to explain without getting into the technical details of CDMA systems. The upshot of this is that what seemed like good in-building coverage one day, may not be so good the next. In-building coverage would suffer the most during rush hour.

The bottom line is: All service providers have their good buildings and their bad buildings. The closer the site is to the building, the better the coverage. No one technology is inherently much better than another, so don't let misinformed souls lead down the garden path on this one.

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