Having recently moved back to Canada, I just got reaquainted with the two different mobile standards that exist in North America. Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) or Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM). In Europe we had one choice, at least that I knew about and that was GSM.
I will take the away the mystery immediately and tell you that I chose a GSM based phone. This was for two reasons, familiarity and the fact that it would work internationally. GSM phones support Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards which allow you to easily store data on from your phone and transfer it to another phone. Think of easily transferring contacts from one phone to the other. Yes I know that more and more phones are supporting syncing with contacts from your computer and I am a fan of this but the simplicity and ease of use makes the SIM card is very attractive. Another benefit to the SIM care is that when traveling a user can easily buy a SIM card for a foreign country slip it into your phone and make phone calls without the roaming fees.
There is much debate whether CDMA provides faster data transfer rates then GSM. Both technologies support 3G which makes this a non-issue for me.
The other sticking point is coverage when traveling the the United States. Reports that I read led me to believe that GSM is making inroads into America and that coverage is good enough and will only improve with time. I will believe that until I am stuck up in a hotel giving me no coverage 😉