What is 3G?

This is collection from India and Nepal.

Current WAP speed in India is nothing great but it has improved. I understand from my friends who are experts in telecom that you cannot improve the speed performance of WAP any further on a GSM network (which is 2G). I am told only 3G can improve things. So what is 3G?

Ex-Telecom Minister Dayanadi Maran was in the verge of releasing the 3G guidelines in India but he was shown the door. After the new Telecom Minister took over there was some talk about India going with 2.5G, which enables high-speed data transfer over upgraded existing 2G networks.

The GSM and CDMA networks are classed as second generation while the defunct analogue network was the first of the mobile network generations.

3G, or third generation, is the generic term used for the next generation of mobile communications systems. The new systems will enhance the services available today and offer multimedia and internet access and the ability to view video footage.

With a 3G phone and access to the 3G network you can send and receive video calls, watch live TV, access the internet, receive emails and download music tracks, as well as the usual voice call and messaging services found on a mobile phone.

Technically, the main difference between 3G and 2G networks is how quickly data can be sent and received. 3G networks can send data up to 40 times the rates of earlier digital networks, which means that in addition to audio, graphics and text, 3G customers can also send and receive video content, in 3G coverage areas. They provide service at 5-10 Mb per second.

3G was introduced in the United States early in 2002. By late 2004, it was finally providing transmission speeds sufficient to handle full-motion video, albeit over short periods of time (15 seconds to three minutes, in most cases). The third generation technology used in the UK is called UMTS. These services operate at 2100 MHz. (2.1GHz).

Upgrading to 3G will be an expensive affair for all telcos. All telco hardware vendors would have another reason to drool in Nepal!

While we are still not sure when Nepal will get 3G, the technology has already moved on to “beyond 3G” or “4G”. A 4G system will be able to provide a comprehensive IP solution where voice, data and streamed multimedia can be given to users on an “Anytime, Anywhere” basis, and at higher data rates than previous generations.

For any telco to offer 3G the government has to allocate the spectrum. Allocation of spectrum is becoming a mess but ultimately it will be solved (after all it cannot be more complex than pleasing the Left in the govt!!).

I personally believe mobile users in Nepal will have a far better experience after 3G becomes a reality.


1. Telco Gollsary
2. Mobile Phone Mast Jargon
3. Wikipedia: 2G 3G
4. GSM Spectrum Allocation



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