What is 3G Service?

Jason C. Chavis

The high-speed access to voice and data technology is known as 3G service, as it is considered the third generation of cellular telecommunications technology. A 3G network is necessary for this service to function. It offers advancements on the 1G and 2G networks such as multimedia applications like video and broadband services.

A phone using a 3G network.
A phone using a 3G network.

3G service is based on standards developed by the International Telecommunications Union, known as the IMT-2000 criteria. The telephony service itself benefits from better range and wider accessibility. In addition, data transfer speeds are better than dial-up speeds, and more in line with cable modem technology.

3G service provides download speeds of up to 14.4 megabits per second.
3G service provides download speeds of up to 14.4 megabits per second.

Minimum speeds for a stationary user is 2 megabits per second. When in a moving vehicle, users get 348 kilobits per second. In ideal conditions, 3G service provides for download speeds of 14.4 megabits per second. Upload speeds range around 5.8 megabits per second.

The key component to 3G service is mobile-to-mobile voice transfer. During this process, three layers of information are sent. The first layer is the actual voice information. The second layer is a control transmission to keep the quality high. The last layer is basic connection information that prevents dropped calls.

While there are a number of similarities between WiFi technology and 3G services, a few distinct differences exist. WiFi was created to allow high-bandwidth data transfer over a short range transmission. This makes it ideal for local connectivity to larger networks. 3G networks use large satellite-driven connections that connect to a system of telecommunication towers. This means that the range is far greater than other technologies.

The first countries to implement this service option were Japan and South Korea, where 3G now accounts for nearly 70 percent of the networks. Europe and North America, specifically companies in the United Kingdom and United States, have also implemented these services to a bulk of commercial customers.

Many countries such as China and Indonesia have delayed the implementation of 3G service due to licensing restrictions and the overall cost of the system. 2G uses a different radio frequency, which means that all new equipment and infrastructure are needed to utilize this service.

There are also a number of security concerns regarding this service. Mobile-to-mobile communication uses encryption to keep communications and data exchange hidden from eavesdropping. The 3G network's size and range called for a new technique known as KASUMI block crypto. This encryption has many weaknesses over its predecessor, the A5/1 stream cipher.

3G service allows access to a system of telecommunication towers.
3G service allows access to a system of telecommunication towers.

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Discussion Comments


Can one use 3G phone to make video calls?, if yes, how?


4G refers to the fourth generation of cellular wireless standards. It is a successor to 3G and 2G standards.

The nomenclature of the generations generally refers to a change in the fundamental nature of the service. The first was the move from analog (1G) to digital (2G) transmission.

This was followed by multi-media support, spread spectrum transmission and at least 200 kbit/s (3G) and now 4G, which refers to all IP packet-switched networks, mobile ultra-broadband (gigabit speed) access and multi-carrier transmission.


With the positive, there are always negative points.

So, what are negative aspects of 3G service?


So 3G service isn't as secure then right? I should be wary of entering personal information while using 3G?

For some reason I thought the G stood for Gigabyte..not generation. So 3G service is fast, just not as fast as I thought lol!

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