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Difference Between GSM and 3G

3g_mobileGlobal System for Mobile communications or GSM is the current and most widely used standard for mobile phones today while 3G is the next generation mobile technology that has begun to replace GSM. 3G is still in its infancy and only has a very small area covered when compared to GSM.

GSM technology has been the most prominent mobile phone technology in the world. Although there are other technologies that are competing with GSM, it has not budged in its dominance. GSM offered a lot of possibilities to the world of mobile phones like text messaging and even low speed internet access. Further improvements were made with the introduction of GPRS and EDGE that extended the capabilities of GSM networks. Multimedia messaging was added to its list of features allowing subscribers to send pictures, audio clips, and even short video clips to each other. EDGE also increased the speed of mobile internet browsing to Dial-up speeds.

3G is a whole new technology that was introduced as a replacement to the aging GSM technology. It offers substantial improvements over its predecessor in almost all aspects imaginable. For starters, mobile internet speeds for 3G networks starts out at 384kbps which is already within the range of DSL speeds. At the higher end of the 3G spectrum is HSDPA which can achieve speeds of up to 7.2mbps, way faster than what GSM can offer. Theses faster speeds also made it possible to add new features that were unavailable for GSM. One of which is video calling, that allows people to see each other while talking.

The only drawback behind 3G technology is the fact that it is not backward compatible to the older GSM technology. This means that your 3G mobile phones cannot communicate with GSM towers and 2G phones cannot communicate with 3G towers. To preserve backwards compatibility, most telecoms install newer 3G radios while still maintaining the older GSM radios. Mobile phone makers also include 3G support into their phones without removing 2G technologies. This would gradually fade as more and more 3G radios are put up and more 3G mobile phones are built.

It would only be a matter of time until 3G technologies fully supersede the GSM network, this not a competition but a natural transition from an older technology to a new one. Therefore, it would make sense to consider this when you are purchasing a new mobile phone and get one that already supports 3G technology.


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11 Comments

  1. specific n easily undesrtandable … :-)

  2. thanx very much..your information is really understanable..keep sharing becoz user should nows deeper what telcos company did in order to improve the system

  3. Well 3g is no longer infant facing coming new 4g technology. Verizon will launch 4G LTE at the end of this year and ATT will start next year. Clearwire with Spring already has 4G Wi-Max in few metropolitan areas already.

  4. i heard tikona in india deals with 4g n aware 3g is also becomes fading

  5. Your article about this technology is irrelevant since it is not dated. Time is everything especially with technology.

    • (Aug 2011) To readers: this article is not informative, estimated write up is about 2008-2009. Article implies GSM is going away in pro of 3G (or 4G). this is not correct. GSM and CDMA are band technologies (more like standards to use specific pieces of the radio spectrum). 3G and 4G on the other hand are acronyms to signify a set of standards expected in mobile services. There are 3G networks, and 4G networks today that are still using the GSM or the CDMA standards for their phones. neither GSM nor CDMA are going away in the near future.

  6. Some additional info: ”The technological revolution presents us with mind-blowing inventions everyday. One of the not so new, but unfortunately unknown for many, technology is based on 3G or 3rd generation mobile telecommunications. Thanks to the 3G capabilities, you can work from places thousands miles away from your office or home. Our team is taking advantage of this great fully mobile telecommunication fantasy since 2010, and most of us have worked from bizarre places, such as a remote mountain village, on the beach 3 meters from the sea, a forest, next to the river while fishing…” You can read the full article @ http://ergohelper.asia/?p=57

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