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What Does 3G Mean

Omkar Phatak Nov 6, 2018
Read to know all about the 3G (Third generation) mobile communication technology, that triggered the Internet revolution on smartphones.
If you have been shopping lately for a cell phone, eBook reader, or the Apple iPad, you must have noticed a term called '3G' in the specifications of the device. It seems to be the most discussed specification, when buying cell phones and other wireless devices, offering Internet connectivity.

About Generations of Wireless Communication Technology

With so many communication channels made available today, it is hard to believe that there was a time when the only mode of direct communication was a landline telephone.
Things rapidly changed in the latter part of the 20th century, as computer technology and wireless radio found widespread applications. Bell's wired invention, was combined with Marconi's radio to create the world's first mobile phones, and the rest is history.
These first cell phones were based on what is known as the first generation analog communication technology. This technology could be known as 1G technology.
Then came the second wave of change in electronics technology, which was the digital wave, that engulfed cell phones too. Signal quality improved, as the calls were digitally modulated and transmitted, providing better voice clarity. This is what is known as the 2G technology of mobile phones.

What Does 3G Device Specification Mean?

3G stands for 'Third Generation of Wireless Communication Technology'. Officially known as 'International Mobile Telecommunications-2000' or 'IMT 2000' and branded as 3G.
These are a complete set of new technologies, developed to boost wireless communication speeds and provide a greater range of services to users. Compared to the earlier 1G and 2G services, 3G mobile phones can provide a maximum data transfer rate of 200 Kbps.
In the earlier generation of technologies, it was not possible to transmit voice and data over the network, at the same time. 3G makes it possible to transmit voice and data signals simultaneously. This, along with the high data transfer speeds, has made facilities like video calling and Internet use on cell phones possible.
There were many technologies, developed simultaneously around the world, which are collectively branded as 3G. These include UMTS and CDMA2000 technologies, that are used all over the world today.
What does it mean, when you find 3G listed in the specifications of any device like Kindle, Apple iPad, Apple iPhone, or a cell phone? It means that the device has the capability to transmit and receive data over the 3G spectrum and has the requisite technology built into it.
The devices which come with the '3G' enabled tag, provide wireless connectivity for Internet usage and communication. An even speedier technology is already launched, which supersedes the 3G technology, in terms of speed, and is known as fourth generation (4G).
If you need a fast Internet connection on your device and you plan to make video calls, your cell phone or any other device must be 3G-enabled. Therefore, you could understand 3G as a specification that ensures high speed data and voice communication.