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Difference Between 3G and 4G

3G vs 4G

3G is currently the world’s best connection method when it comes to mobile phones, and especially mobile Internet. 3G stands for 3rd generation as it  is just that in terms of the evolutionary path of the mobile phone industry. 4G means 4th generation. This is a set of standard that is being developed as a future successor of 3G in the very near future.

The biggest difference between the two is in the existence of compliant technologies. There are a bunch of technologies that fall under 3G, including WCDMA, EV-DO, and HSPA among others. Although a lot of mobile phone companies are quick to dub their technologies as 4G, such as LTE, WiMax, and UMB, none of these are actually compliant to the specifications set forth by the 4G standard. These technologies are often referred to as Pre-4G or 3.9G.

4G speeds are meant to exceed that of 3G. Current 3G speeds are topped out at 14Mbps downlink and 5.8Mbps uplink. To be able to qualify as a 4G technology, speeds of up to 100Mbps must be reached for a moving user and 1Gbps for a stationary user. So far, these speeds are only reachable with wired LANs.

Another key change in 4G is the abandonment of circuit switching. 3G technologies use a hybrid of circuit switching and packet switching. Circuit switching is a very old technology that has been used in telephone systems for a very long time. The downside to this technology is that it ties up the resource for as long as the connection is kept up. Packet switching is a technology that is very prevalent in computer networks but has since appeared in mobile phones as well. With packet switching, resources are only used when there is information to be sent across. The efficiency of packet switching allows the mobile phone company to squeeze more conversations into the same bandwidth. 4G technologies would no longer utilize circuit switching even for voice calls and video calls. All information that is passed around would be packet switched to enhance efficiency.


1. 3G stands for 3rd generation while 4G stands for 4th generation

2. 3G technologies are in widespread use while 4G compliant technologies are still in the horizon

3. 4G speeds are much faster compared to 3G

4. 3G is a mix of circuit and packet switching network while 4G is only a packet switching network

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  1. Nice info and very nicely packed in the post .

    One question : ” technologies that fall under 3G, including WCDMA, EV-DO, and HSPA among others ”
    so does HSPA+ fall under 4G ???

    PLs add in your post or reply .

  2. There is a grammar issue in the 1st paragraph. Currently says “3G stands for 3rd generation as it just that in terms of the evolutionary path of the mobile phone industry. 4G means 4th generation.

    Should say “3G stands for 3rd generation as it IS just that in terms of the evolutionary path of the mobile phone industry. 4G means 4th generation.

  3. hey!
    so, let me as something, i got a 3G phone with MetroPCS, i wnt to get their new phone “Smasung Craft 4G” nd i was wondering, is it worth it? like my current fone, i get service in limited areas but will the 4G fone give me more places with service? i kno its a stupid question but jst wondering. thanx! reply plz 🙂

    • no it is not save your money, cell phones are just another form of highway robbery, take action by not falling for the new phone hype, keep what you have, a basic plan, and focus on bettering yourself, workout everyday, do things that will improve you, not wasting your time with computers and cell phones and such, i guarantee you will have a much better life.

    • Probably not, unless you know that you live in an area where you know that a company has been expanding their network (ie installing more towers and relay antanne). So, the phone will most likely be overkill for what is actually available in your area. Give it until Christmas of 2011 for REAL
      4G to available (municipalities are struggling for cash so prices for permits and the such have risen).

  4. As mentioned in the blog 4g based technology leverages only packet switching network
    Does that mean on Iphone 5(4g) we cannot multi task? like browse internet once on the phone call? Please shed some light!

  5. Ha Dave Dawson, little grammar nazi. Pretty sure the scope of this comparison wasn’t to write a grammatically correct post. I wouldnt normally comment, but yours is just plain retarded.

    Aside from that, pretty informative.

  6. nice post, hey dave, stop jackin’ off, obviously your phone is your life, loser. get your ass back behind the cubicle.

  7. Now for the new question. Since TV went digital, there is a new group of frequencies in the 700 MHtz range open in addition to the two groups now in use ( 800-900 & 1800-1900 MHtz). I have heard chatter both ways about the coding of 700 MHtz signals. Some carrier’s employees are stating all 700 builds will be 4G only and other employees of the same carrier are saying the builds will start 4G with legacy available – I take to mean 3G. Any info available on this would be a big help.

    Also, I have heard about a frequency group at 2100 MHTz. Any “scoop” there?

  8. 4g is awesome. Circuit switching was ancient (in terms of technology). Good thing that it’s gone now.

  9. can i please know, in which part of world the 4G technology is currently being used???
    and when it will be launched in india??

  10. it is a very good for the 4G because it very performance and nice pase have performance ,
    it is in the existence of compliant technologies

  11. is it better to buy 3g phones or wait for 4g phones? how much time span needed to launch 4g service and 4g phones?

    • Well I just bought a new 4g phone, its nice but 4g isn’t available in most areas.I asked the attendant if I should bother turning on the 4g ( the phones have an option to turn 4g on). Well it isn’t for me because I don’t have it in my area and they charge you another 10 or 12$ just a service they can’t even provide yet. Also takes up extra battery. I love my EVO 3D but it’s stupid what they charge you. But it’s legal for them to charge what they like. Anyways just keep in mind how much they charge. I personaly would recommend sprint their pretty fair compared to every other company for an ” everything plan”. Good deal on phones too. Hoped this helps.

  12. Very informative and easy understandable.

  13. Great post. I was checking constantly this blog and I am
    impressed! Extremely useful information specifically the last part 🙂 I care for such information a lot.
    I was looking for this particular information for a long time.
    Thank you and best of luck.

  14. This is a plagiarized article with absolutely no mention of the original author K. Kumaravel:


    Stop posting other people’s work as if it was your own.

  15. But the article was posted here well before “Kumaravel” published his work.

    Even the first comment on this article was on Feb 11 2011. But his work was published on September 2011

    “IJCSI International Journal of Computer Science Issues, Vol. 8, Issue 5, No 3, September 2011 ”

    It’s easy to blame without checking the facts.

  16. i want a tower 4 g in my home mob no 9457519344

  17. Hi…
    Thanks for understadable info …
    Is it physically possible to recieve 4g network by 3g phone ?
    Do you know why in some phones there is a ‘lte’ option in: tablet information/network type ? (i mean when we use *#*#4636#*#*)

  18. Very Good information in a simple language … Thanks a lot.

  19. Thank you so much for your information, you are a good author, the content you wrote, really helpful for me..please keep us updated.

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