2G - 3G Cellular Wireless
data transport terminology


2G / 3G Cellular Wireless data transport terminology

Transport technology Description Typical use/
Data transmission speed
Time Division Multiple Access is 2G technology
Voice and data Up to 9.6kbps
Low battery consumption, but transmission is one-way, and its speed pales next to 3G technologies

GSM Global System for Mobile Communications is a 2G digital cell phone technology Voice and data. This European system uses the 900MHz and 1.8GHz frequencies. In the United States it operates in the 1.9GHz PCS band  Up to 9.6kbps Popular around the globe. Worldwide roaming in about 180 countries, but GSM's short messaging service (GSM-SMS) only transmits one-way, and can only deliver messages up to 160 characters long

GPRS General Packet Radio Service is a 2.5G network that supports data packets Data Up to 115kbps; the AT&T Wireless GPRS network will transmit data at 40kbps to 60kbps Messages not limited to 160 characters, like GSM SMS

EDGE Enhanced Data GSM Environment is a 3G digital network Data

Up to 384kbps
May be temporary solution for operators unable to get W-CDMA licenses

CDMA Code Division Multiple Access is a 2G technology developed by Qualcomm that is transitioning to 3G   Although behind TDMA in number of subscribers, this fast-growing technology has more capacity than TDMA

W-CDMA (UMTS) Wideband CDMA (also known as Universal Mobile Telecommunications System--UMTS) is 3G technology. On November 6, 2002, NTT DoCoMo, Ericsson, Nokia, and Siemens agreed on licensing arrangements for W-CDMA, which should set a benchmark for royalty rates Voice and data. UMTS is being designed to offer speeds of at least 144kbps to users in fast-moving vehicles
Up to 2Mbps initially. Up to 10Mbps by 2005, according to designers
Likely to be dominant outside the United States, and therefore good for roaming globally. Commitments from U.S. operators are currently lacking, though AT&T Wireless performed UMTS tests in 2002. Primarily to be implemented in Asia-Pacific region

CDMA2000 1xRTT A 3G technology, 1xRTT is the first phase of CDMA2000 Voice and data Up to 144kbps Proponents say migration from TDMA is simpler with CDMA2000 than W-CDMA, and that spectrum use is more efficient. But W-CDMA will likely be more common in Europe

CDMA2000 1xEV-DO Delivers data on a separate channel Data Up to 2.4Mbps (see CDMA2000 1xRTT above)

CDMA2000 1xEV-DV Integrates voice and data on the same channel Voice and data Up to 2.4Mbps (see CDMA2000 1xRTT above)


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