The spatially distributed adaptive array is defined and analyzed. It is applied to both time division multiple access (TDMA) and code division multiple access (CDMA) cellular networks to improve the outage probability at either the base station or mobiles. In a TDMA network, the distributed array consists of three sub-arrays at alternate corners of a hexagonal cell. It is shown analytically that the SINR of combined beamforming of the distributed sub-arrays is greater than or equal to the SIR or independent beamforming of the sub-arrays. Closed form solutions are derived for estimating the BER performance of Rayleigh fading mobile signals received at a distributed adaptive array with combined beamforming of the sub-arrays. The simulated TDMA uplink outage probability of multiple same-cell co-channel users in a fading environment is compared between conventional, spatially distributed arrays with independent beamforming of the sub-arrays and combined beamforming of the sub-arrays. The effect of the antenna element spacing, number of elements and angular spread is also investigated. Spatially distributed arrays are formed in a CDMA network on the downlink with arrays in multi-way soft handoff with the mobiles. The outage probability performance of combined beamforming of the arrays in handoff is compared to independent beamforming of the arrays as well as to conventional sectorized antennas. The range between mobiles and distributed sub-arrays in the case of a spatially distribu-ted array can be larger than between conventional center cell arrays and mobiles. Therefore, the effect of interference on the range increase relative to an omni antenna of adaptive and phased arrays in a multipath environment for both narrowband and wideband spread spectrum systems is investigated. An analytical model for predicting the asymptotic range limitation of phased arrays when the angular spread exceeds the array beamwidth is derived.