3G is an acronym of 3rd (Third) Generation mobile networks. It is also known as WCDMA which is an acronym of Wireless code division multiple access. 3G technology supports both voice and data. 3G speed rates are up to 2 Mbps and later it is extended to 21 Mbps (HSPA) and 7.1 Mbps (HSDPA). It is mainly designed for multimedia application such as VOIP, Video calling, Movies on Demand, Games, and many other internet services. This technology is also called as Mobile broadband or WCDMA.

Limitations of 2G

  • Multiple Standards – No Global Standards
  • No Common Frequency Band
  • Low Data Bit Rates
  • Low Voice Quality
  • No Support of Video
  • Various Network Systems to Meet Specific Requirements

3G Technology Specifications

According to International Mobile Telecommunications-2000(IMT-2000) third generation technology is defined with the following specifications.

  • The minimum downstream data rate of 384mbps or above for stationary or walking mobile user, and minimum 144 kbps for moving customer.
  • 1885-2025 MHz and 2110-2200 MHz (Core band for IMT-2000)
  • 1710-1885 MHz and 2500-2690 MHz (Additional band)
  • 890-960 MHz (Additional band).


3G speed and different standards

  • UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunication Service): – It uses W-CDMA technology for radio access network, it is developed by 3rd Generation Partnership Project. It supports the maximum data rate of 42 Mbps when (HSPA+) is implemented in the system. The UMTS supports the HSPA, HSUPA, HSDPA, and HSPA+.
  • CDMA 2000: – 3rd Generation Partnership Project2 develops it as successor to CDMA one or IS-95, It supports data speeds up to 144 kbps and improved to 307 kbps.
  • EVDO

Read it also: Comparison between 1G, 2G, 3G and 4G wireless technologies

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Advantages of Third Generation Mobile Networks

  • The data speed offered by the 2G or 2.5G or 2.75G is not sufficient for multimedia services such as Internet telephony, Video calling, and other web services. Using 3G or WCDMA technology all the services can be offered.
  • Bandwidth, security, and reliability are more when compared to its presser.
  • Supports interoperability with service providers.
  • Always online and internet services are available for moving customers with high data rate.
  • HSDPA and HSUPA can also increase data speed.


Disadvantages of 3G Technology or WCDMA:

  • Migrating from existing network to 3G is very costly as separate equipment needs to install.
  • Required different handsets or new handset which supports third generation networks.
  • Power consumption is high in both mobile handset and BTS.
  • Requires more towers/antenna for providing better service which increases the installation cost or CAPEX.

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Overview of 3G Technology

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