Glossary definition of 3G

Also known as: Third Generation

3G (Third Generation) is a generic term used to refer to the latest standard of wireless mobile telephone networks. Third Generation phones are capable of the high data rates, wide bandwidth and increased capacity needed to support the new range of digital services available for mobile devices, such as Internet access, multimedia applications, and support for global roaming.

The major multiple access transmission technique used in 3G is CDMA, a packet-switching technology, which provides a more efficient use of the available spectrum than did the earlier methods of FDMA and TDMA. The two main 3G technologies used are UMTS with wideband CDMA (W-CDMA) in Europe, and cdma2000 with multi-carrier CDMA (MC-CDMA) in the USA. Many 3G systems will operate in the 2 GHz frequency band, and are designed to provide a range of data rates from 144 kbps to 2 Mbps, depending on the user's location and circumstances.

The 3G mobile communications standard was a programme led originally by the ITU under the IMT-2000 project, and handsets and networks are now generally defined as UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunication Service). However, despite the intention that the IMT-2000 specification would result in a single, unified 3G system, several different versions of 3G have developed due to the leading telecommunications companies choosing to take a more evolutionary approach to upgrading their networks.

Phones tagged with 3G