Heather Broughton

Heather Broughton

Senior Director, Communications Service Provider Marketing

Last Updated

What Are Wireless Generations?

The latest and fifth generation of wireless technologies (5G) follows a 40-year history of significant wireless technologies including 4G, 3G and 2G.

What is 2G?

2G networks launching in 1991 enabled clear and encrypted digital voice calls. This second generation also provided the groundwork for a communications revolution. With 2G people could send text messages (SMS), picture messages, and multimedia messages (MMS) from their phones. While initial transfer speeds were limited, service providers/operators rushed to invest in new infrastructure such as mobile cell towers to meet demands.

What is 3G?

What is 3G?

In 2001, 3G or 3GSM standardized network protocols used by vendors. This third generation enabled an increase in data transfer capabilities (4 times faster than 2G) the development of new services such as video conferencing, video streaming and voice over IP. With the standardization of web connectivity, international roaming services became reality.

What Is 4G?

4G or, the Long Term Evolution (LTE) is the fourth generation of mobile telecommunications technology was introduced in 2009. 4G added mobile ultra-broadband internet access to mobile devices in addition to the usual voice and other data services provided by the earlier third generation (3G) technology. The technology enabled high-quality video streaming (up to 1 gigabit per second for stationary users and network latencies of 5 milliseconds) to facilitate gaming services, high definition (HD) videos and high quality (HQ) video conferencing. Service providers that offered CDMA2000 or GSM /UMTS networks used the LTE standard as the upgrade from those earlier, third-generation (3G) standards for faster service.

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