Differences between 2G 3G and 4G

As you probably know the letter G after the number in GSM stands for generation and the shortest explanation about the differences between 2g 3g and 4g is that the newer generations have faster data transfer than the older ones (4G is faster than 3G is faster than 2G). In theory, that’s true, but it depends on many different factors.

Differences between 2G 3G and 4G

2 G

The second generation of mobile cellular networks was launched in 1991 under the GSM standard. The main difference between the previous first generation and the most recent generation was the change in the type of communication-based from analog to digital.

The first 2G was created mainly for voice services with slow data transfer for SMS text messages. With the second generation, telephone conversations were digitally encrypted and the network became significantly more effective, allowing higher levels of mobile penetration.

A few years later, GPRS evolved to EDGE, which stands for (Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution) also known as Extended GPRS. EDGE increased data rates to 384 kbit/s for download and 60 kbit/s for upload. This combination is also known as 2.75G.


The third generation was launched in 2001 as a UMTS network. The data transmission speed was improved by introducing the HSPA which allows up to 7.2 Mbit/s for download and 2 Mbit/s for upload speed. Things like TV on your phone or live streaming became possible.

HSPA+ was introduced in 2008 and brought the biggest speed boost, allowing 56 Mbit/s to download and 22 Mbit/s to upload. This is also known as 3.5G.

In general, the third generation updated all aspects of the previous generations. The bandwidth and location information available to 3G devices give rise to applications that were previously not available to mobile phone users.


The fourth generation has two commercially deployed candidate systems: WiMAX and LTE. A 4G system must provide the capabilities defined by the ITU and IMT Advanced. The first network was introduced in South Korea in 2007.

Unlike previous generations, a fourth does not support traditional circuit-switched telephony service but supports all IP-based communications such as IP telephony.

4G requires service at 100 Mbit/s for high mobility communication and 1 Gbit/s for low mobility communication. Since the first release versions of WiMAX and LTE support a maximum bit rate of less than 1 Gbit/s for low mobility communications, they are not fully IMT-Advanced compliant but are often rated as 4G by service providers. services. Both already have successors called WiMAX 2 and LTE Advanced that fully follow the fourth generation.

Current and potential applications include modified mobile web access, gaming services, mobile HD TV, video conferencing, 3D TV, and cloud computing.

Differences between 2G 3G and 4G

A higher number before the “G” means more power to send and receive more information, and therefore the ability to achieve greater efficiency over the wireless network.

Another one is the data speed. In 2G the speed is 14.4 Kbps, while in 3G it is 3.1 Mbps. In a 4G network, the data speed is 100 Mbps.

The 2G network is a digital version of 1G technology that offers multiple users on a single channel. For its part, in 3G there is digital broadband with an increase in speed that allows multimedia functions and high-speed video calls. In 4G, very high speeds are presented that allow real-time transmission.

When it comes to internet service, 2G has a narrow band; the 3G service works with broadband and the 4G has an ultra-wide internet band.

The 2G service has the advantages of multimedia functions (SMS, MMS), Internet access, and the introduction of SIM. The next 3G presents high security and international roaming among its advantages. For its part, 4G has speed, high-speed transfers, MIMO technology, and global mobility. This is another difference between 2G 3G and 4G.

In terms of applications, 2G offers voice calls, short messages, and (partial) navigation. The 3G service for its part introduced video conferencing, mobile TV, and GPS services. Later, 4G offers high-speed applications, mobile TV, and portable devices.

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