Ionospheric channel characterization is an important task for both HF and satellite communications. The inherent space-time variability of the ionosphere can be observed through total electron content (TEC) that can be obtained using GPS receivers. In this study, within-the-hour variability of the ionosphere over high-latitude, midlatitude, and equatorial regions is investigated by estimating a parametric model for the probability density function (PDF) of GPS-TEC. PDF is a useful tool in defining the statistical structure of communication channels. For this study, a half solar cycle data is collected for 18 GPS stations. Histograms of TEC, corresponding to experimental probability distributions, are used to estimate the parameters of five different PDFs. The best fitting distribution to the TEC data is obtained using the maximum likelihood ratio of the estimated parametric distributions. It is observed that all of the midlatitude stations and most of the high-latitude and equatorial stations are distributed as lognormal. A representative distribution can easily be obtained for stations that are located in midlatitude using solar zenith normalization. The stations located in very high latitudes or in equatorial regions cannot be described using only one PDF distribution. Due to significant seasonal variability, different distributions are required for summer and winter.