3G

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3G (short for third generation) is the third generation of wireless mobile telecommunications technology. It is the upgrade for 2.5G and 2.5G GPRS networks, for faster data transfer speed. [1] This is based on a set of standards used for mobile devices and mobile telecommunications use services and networks that comply with the International Mobile Telecommunications-2000 (IMT-2000) specifications by the International Telecommunication Union. 3G finds application in wireless voice telephony, mobile Internet access, fixed wireless Internet access, video calls and mobile TV. [1]

Contents

3G telecommunication networks support services that provide an information transfer rate of at least 144 kbit/s. [2] [3] [4] Later 3G releases, often denoted 3.5G and 3.75G, also provide mobile broadband access of several Mbit/s to smartphones and mobile modems in laptop computers. This ensures it can be applied to wireless voice telephony, mobile Internet access, fixed wireless Internet access, video calls and mobile TV technologies.

A new generation of cellular standards has appeared approximately every tenth year since 1G systems were introduced in 1979 and the early to mid-1980s. Each generation is characterized by new frequency bands, higher data rates and non–backward-compatible transmission technology. The first commercial 3G networks were introduced in 2001. [5] [6] [7] [8]

Overview

Several telecommunications companies market wireless mobile Internet services as 3G, indicating that the advertised service is provided over a 3G wireless network. Services advertised as 3G are required to meet IMT-2000 technical standards, including standards for reliability and speed (data transfer rates). To meet the IMT-2000 standards, a system is required to provide peak data rates of at least 144 kbit/s. [4] However, many services advertised as 3G provide higher speed than the minimum technical requirements for a 3G service. [9] Recent 3G releases, often denoted 3.5G and 3.75G, also provide mobile broadband access of several Mbit/s to smartphones and mobile modems in laptop computers. [10]

The following standards are typically branded 3G:

The above systems and radio interfaces are based on spread spectrum radio transmission technology. While the GSM EDGE standard ("2.9G"), DECT cordless phones and Mobile WiMAX standards formally also fulfill the IMT-2000 requirements and are approved as 3G standards by ITU, these are typically not branded 3G, and are based on completely different technologies.

The following common standards comply with the IMT2000/3G standard:

While DECT cordless phones and Mobile WiMAX standards formally also fulfill the IMT-2000 requirements, they are not usually considered due to their rarity and unsuitability for usage with mobile phones. [11]

Break-up of 3G systems

The 3G (UMTS and CDMA2000) research and development projects started in 1992. In 1999, ITU approved five radio interfaces for IMT-2000 as a part of the ITU-R M.1457 Recommendation; WiMAX was added in 2007. [12]

There are evolutionary standards (EDGE and CDMA) that are backward-compatible extensions to pre-existing 2G networks as well as revolutionary standards that require all-new network hardware and frequency allocations. The cell phones use UMTS in combination with 2G GSM standards and bandwidths, but do not support EDGE. The latter group is the UMTS family, which consists of standards developed for IMT-2000, as well as the independently developed standards DECT and WiMAX, which were included because they fit the IMT-2000 definition.

While EDGE fulfills the 3G specifications, most GSM/UMTS phones report EDGE ("2.75G") and UMTS ("3G") functionality. [13]

History

3G technology was the result of research and development work carried out by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in the early 1980s. 3G specifications and standards were developed in fifteen years. The technical specifications were made available to the public under the name IMT-2000. The communication spectrum between 400 MHz to 3 GHz was allocated for 3G. Both the government and communication companies approved the 3G standard. The first pre-commercial 3G network was launched by NTT DoCoMo in Japan in 1998, [14] branded as FOMA. It was first available in May 2001 as a pre-release (test) of W-CDMA technology. The first commercial launch of 3G was also by NTT DoCoMo in Japan on 1 October 2001, although it was initially somewhat limited in scope; [15] [16] broader availability of the system was delayed by apparent concerns over its reliability. [17]

The first European pre-commercial network was an UMTS network on the Isle of Man by Manx Telecom, the operator then owned by British Telecom, and the first commercial network (also UMTS based W-CDMA) in Europe was opened for business by Telenor in December 2001 with no commercial handsets and thus no paying customers.

The first network to go commercially live was by SK Telecom in South Korea on the CDMA-based 1xEV-DO technology in January 2002. By May 2002 the second South Korean 3G network was by KT on EV-DO and thus the South Koreans were the first to see competition among 3G operators.

The first commercial United States 3G network was by Monet Mobile Networks, on CDMA2000 1x EV-DO technology, but this network provider later shut down operations. The second 3G network operator in the USA was Verizon Wireless in July 2002 also on CDMA2000 1x EV-DO. AT&T Mobility was also a true 3G UMTS network, having completed its upgrade of the 3G network to HSUPA.

The first commercial United Kingdom 3G network was started by Hutchison Telecom which was originally behind Orange S.A.. [18] In 2003, it announced first commercial third generation or 3G mobile phone network in the UK.

The first pre-commercial demonstration network in the southern hemisphere was built in Adelaide, South Australia by m.Net Corporation in February 2002 using UMTS on 2100 MHz. This was a demonstration network for the 2002 IT World Congress. The first commercial 3G network was launched by Hutchison Telecommunications branded as Three or "3" in June 2003. [19]

Emtel launched the first 3G network in Africa. [20]

Telstra plans to shut down its 3G network in 2024. [21]

Adoption

Japan was one of the first countries to adopt 3G, the reason being the process of 3G spectrum allocation, which in Japan was awarded without much upfront cost. Frequency spectrum was allocated in the US and Europe based on auctioning, thereby requiring a huge initial investment for any company wishing to provide 3G services. European companies collectively paid over 100 billion dollars in their spectrum auctions. [22]

Nepal Telecom adopted 3G Service for the first time in southern Asia. However, its 3G was relatively slow to be adopted in Nepal. In some instances, 3G networks do not use the same radio frequencies as 2G so mobile operators must build entirely new networks and license entirely new frequencies, especially so to achieve high data transmission rates. Other countries' delays were due to the expenses of upgrading transmission hardware, especially for UMTS, whose deployment required the replacement of most broadcast towers. Due to these issues and difficulties with deployment, many carriers were not able to or delayed acquisition of these updated capabilities.

In December 2007, 190 3G networks were operating in 40 countries and 154 HSDPA networks were operating in 71 countries, according to the Global Mobile Suppliers Association (GSA). In Asia, Europe, Canada and the US, telecommunication companies use W-CDMA technology with the support of around 100 terminal designs to operate 3G mobile networks.

Roll-out of 3G networks was delayed in some countries by the enormous costs of additional spectrum licensing fees. The license fees in some European countries were particularly high, bolstered by government auctions of a limited number of licenses and sealed bid auctions, and initial excitement over 3G's potential. This led to a telecoms crash that ran concurrently with similar crashes in the fibre-optic and dot.com fields.

The 3G standard is perhaps well known because of a massive expansion of the mobile communications market post-2G and advances of the consumer mobile phone. An especially notable development during this time is the smartphone (for example, the iPhone, and the Android family), combining the abilities of a PDA with a mobile phone, leading to widespread demand for mobile internet connectivity. 3G has also introduced the term "mobile broadband" because its speed and capability make it a viable alternative for internet browsing, and USB Modems connecting to 3G networks are becoming increasingly common.

Market penetration

By June 2007, the 200 millionth 3G subscriber had been connected of which 10 million were in Nepal and 8.2 million in India. This 200 millionth is only 6.7% of the 3 billion mobile phone subscriptions worldwide. (When counting CDMA2000 1x RTT customers—max bitrate 72% of the 200kbit/s which defines 3G—the total size of the nearly-3G subscriber base was 475 million as of June 2007, which was 15.8% of all subscribers worldwide.) In the countries where 3G was launched first – Japan and South Korea – 3G penetration is over 70%. [23] In Europe the leading country[ when? ] for 3G penetration is Italy with a third of its subscribers migrated to 3G. Other leading countries[ when? ] for 3G use include Nepal, UK, Austria, Australia and Singapore at the 32% migration level.

According to ITU estimates, [24] as of Q4 2012 there were 2096 million active mobile-broadband[ vague ] subscribers worldwide out of a total of 6835 million subscribers—this is just over 30%. About half the mobile-broadband subscriptions are for subscribers in developed nations, 934 million out of 1600 million total, well over 50%. Note however that there is a distinction between a phone with mobile-broadband connectivity and a smart phone with a large display and so on—although according [25] to the ITU and informatandm.com the USA has 321 million mobile subscriptions, including 256 million that are 3G or 4G, which is both 80% of the subscriber base and 80% of the USA population, according [24] to ComScore just a year earlier in Q4 2011 only about 42% of people surveyed in the USA reported they owned a smart phone. In Japan, 3G penetration was similar at about 81%, but smart phone ownership was lower at about 17%. [24] In China, there were 486.5 million 3G subscribers in June 2014, [26] in a population of 1,385,566,537 (2013 UN estimate).

Patents

It has been estimated that there are almost 8,000 patents declared essential (FRAND) related to the 483 technical specifications which form the 3GPP and 3GPP2 standards. [27] [28] Twelve companies accounted in 2004 for 90% of the patents (Qualcomm, Ericsson, Nokia, Motorola, Philips, NTT DoCoMo, Siemens, Mitsubishi, Fujitsu, Hitachi, InterDigital, and Matsushita).

Even then, some patents essential to 3G might have not been declared by their patent holders. It is believed that Nortel and Lucent have undisclosed patents essential to these standards. [28]

Furthermore, the existing 3G Patent Platform Partnership Patent pool has little impact on FRAND protection, because it excludes the four largest patent owners for 3G. [29] [30]

Features

Data rates

ITU has b[ vague ] definition of the data rate that users can expect from 3G equipment or providers. Loburhanstandard and say that the rates it specifies are not being met. While stating in commentary that "it is expected that IMT-2000 will provide higher transmission rates: a minimum data rate of 2 Mbit/s for stationary or walking users, and 348 kbit/s in a moving vehicle," [31] the ITU does not actually clearly specify minimum required rates, nor required average rates, nor what modes[ clarification needed ] of the interfaces qualify as 3G, so various[ vague ] data rates are sold as '3G' in the market.

In market implementation, 3G downlink data speeds defined by telecom service providers vary depending on the underlying technology deployed; up to 384kbit/s for WCDMA, up to 7.2Mbit/sec for HSPA and a theoretical maximum of 21.6 Mbit/s for HSPA+ (technically 3.5G, but usually clubbed under the tradename of 3G).[ citation needed ]

Compare data speeds with 3.5G and 4G.

Security

3G networks offer greater security than their 2G predecessors. By allowing the UE (User Equipment) to authenticate the network it is attaching to, the user can be sure the network is the intended one and not an impersonator. 3G networks use the KASUMI block cipher instead of the older A5/1 stream cipher. However, a number of serious weaknesses in the KASUMI cipher have been identified. [32]

In addition to the 3G network infrastructure security, end-to-end security is offered when application frameworks such as IMS are accessed, although this is not strictly a 3G property.

Applications of 3G

The bandwidth and location information available to 3G devices gives rise to applications not previously available to mobile phone users.

Evolution

Both 3GPP and 3GPP2 are working on the extensions to 3G standards that are based on an all-IP network infrastructure and using advanced wireless technologies such as MIMO. These specifications already display features characteristic for IMT-Advanced (4G), the successor of 3G. However, falling short of the bandwidth requirements for 4G (which is 1 Gbit/s for stationary and 100 Mbit/s for mobile operation), these standards are classified as 3.9G or Pre-4G.

3GPP plans to meet the 4G goals with LTE Advanced, whereas Qualcomm has halted development of UMB in favour of the LTE family. [33]

On 14 December 2009, Telia Sonera announced in an official press release that "We are very proud to be the first operator in the world to offer our customers 4G services." [34] With the launch of their LTE network, initially they are offering pre-4G (or beyond 3G) services in Stockholm, Sweden and Oslo, Norway.

See also

Related Research Articles

Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution digital mobile phone technology that allows improved data transmission rates as a backward-compatible extension of GSM

Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE) is a digital mobile phone technology that allows improved data transmission rates as a backward-compatible extension of GSM. EDGE is considered a pre-3G radio technology and is part of ITU's 3G definition. EDGE was deployed on GSM networks beginning in 2003 – initially by Cingular in the United States.

GSM standard to describe protocols for second generation digital cellular networks used by mobile phones

The Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) is a standard developed by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) to describe the protocols for second-generation (2G) digital cellular networks used by mobile devices such as mobile phones and tablets. It was first deployed in Finland in December 1991. By the mid-2010s, it became a global standard for mobile communications achieving over 90% market share, and operating in over 193 countries and territories.

General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) is a packet oriented mobile data standard on the 2G and 3G cellular communication network's global system for mobile communications (GSM). GPRS was established by European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) in response to the earlier CDPD and i-mode packet-switched cellular technologies. It is now maintained by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP).

The Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) is a third generation mobile cellular system for networks based on the GSM standard. Developed and maintained by the 3GPP, UMTS is a component of the International Telecommunications Union IMT-2000 standard set and compares with the CDMA2000 standard set for networks based on the competing cdmaOne technology. UMTS uses wideband code division multiple access (W-CDMA) radio access technology to offer greater spectral efficiency and bandwidth to mobile network operators.

2G is short for second-generation cellular network. 2G cellular networks were commercially launched on the GSM standard in Finland by Radiolinja in 1991.

The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) is a standards organization which develops protocols for mobile telephony. Its best known work is the development and maintenance of:

WiMAX wireless broadband standard

WiMAX is a family of wireless broadband communication standards based on the IEEE 802.16 set of standards, which provide multiple physical layer (PHY) and Media Access Control (MAC) options.

CDMA2000 family of 3G mobile technology standards for sending voice, data, and signaling data between mobile phones and cell sites

CDMA2000 is a family of 3G mobile technology standards for sending voice, data, and signaling data between mobile phones and cell sites. It is developed by 3GPP2 as a backwards-compatible successor to second-generation cdmaOne (IS-95) set of standards and used especially in North America and South Korea.

Freedom of Mobile Multimedia Access Mobile network in Japan

Freedom of Mobile Multimedia Access (FOMA) is the brand name of the W-CDMA-based 3G telecommunications services being offered by the Japanese telecommunications service provider NTT DoCoMo. It is an implementation of the Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) and was the world's first 3G service to commence operation.

The 3rd Generation Partnership Project 2 (3GPP2) is a collaboration between telecommunications associations to make a globally applicable third generation (3G) mobile phone system specification within the scope of the ITU's IMT-2000 project. In practice, 3GPP2 is the standardization group for CDMA2000, the set of 3G standards based on the earlier cdmaOne 2G CDMA technology.

4G is the fourth generation of broadband cellular network technology, succeeding 3G. A 4G system must provide capabilities defined by ITU in IMT Advanced. Potential and current applications include amended mobile web access, IP telephony, gaming services, high-definition mobile TV, video conferencing, and 3D television.

Evolution-Data Optimized telecommunications standard for the wireless transmission of data through radio signals

Evolution-Data Optimized is a telecommunications standard for the wireless transmission of data through radio signals, typically for broadband Internet access. EV-DO is an evolution of the CDMA2000 (IS-2000) standard which supports high data rates and can be deployed alongside a wireless carrier's voice services. It uses advanced multiplexing techniques including code division multiple access (CDMA) as well as time division multiplexing (TDM) to maximize throughput. It is a part of the CDMA2000 family of standards and has been adopted by many mobile phone service providers around the world particularly those previously employing CDMA networks. It is also used on the Globalstar satellite phone network.

Adaptive Multi-Rate Wideband (AMR-WB) is a patented wideband speech audio coding standard developed based on Adaptive Multi-Rate encoding, using similar methodology as algebraic code excited linear prediction (ACELP). AMR-WB provides improved speech quality due to a wider speech bandwidth of 50–7000 Hz compared to narrowband speech coders which in general are optimized for POTS wireline quality of 300–3400 Hz. AMR-WB was developed by Nokia and VoiceAge and it was first specified by 3GPP.

E-UTRA air interface of 3GPP LTE upgrade path for mobile networks

E-UTRA is the air interface of 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) Long Term Evolution (LTE) upgrade path for mobile networks. It is an acronym for Evolved Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) Terrestrial Radio Access, also referred to as the 3GPP work item on the Long Term Evolution (LTE) also known as the Evolved Universal Terrestrial Radio Access (E-UTRA) in early drafts of the 3GPP LTE specification. E-UTRAN is the initialism of Evolved UMTS Terrestrial Radio Access Network and is the combination of E-UTRA, user equipment (UE), and E-UTRAN Node B or Evolved Node B (EnodeB).

High Speed Packet Access Communications protocols

High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) is an amalgamation of two mobile protocols, High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) and High Speed Uplink Packet Access (HSUPA), that extends and improves the performance of existing 3G mobile telecommunication networks using the WCDMA protocols. A further improved 3GPP standard, Evolved High Speed Packet Access, was released late in 2008 with subsequent worldwide adoption beginning in 2010. The newer standard allows bit-rates to reach as high as 337 Mbit/s in the downlink and 34 Mbit/s in the uplink. However, these speeds are rarely achieved in practice.

Mobile broadband marketing term for wireless Internet access through a portable modem, USB wireless modem, or a tablet/smartphone or other mobile device

Mobile broadband is the marketing term for wireless Internet access through a portable modem, USB wireless modem, or a tablet/smartphone or other mobile device. The first wireless Internet access became available in 1991 as part of the second generation (2G) of mobile phone technology. Higher speeds became available in 2001 and 2006 as part of the third (3G) and fourth (4G) generations. In 2011, 90% of the world's population lived in areas with 2G coverage, while 45% lived in areas with 2G and 3G coverage. Mobile broadband uses the spectrum of 225 MHz to 3700 MHz.

In telecommunications, Long-Term Evolution (LTE) is a standard for wireless broadband communication for mobile devices and data terminals, based on the GSM/EDGE and UMTS/HSPA technologies. It increases the capacity and speed using a different radio interface together with core network improvements. The standard is developed by the 3GPP and is specified in its Release 8 document series, with minor enhancements described in Release 9. LTE is the upgrade path for carriers with both GSM/UMTS networks and CDMA2000 networks. The different LTE frequencies and bands used in different countries mean that only multi-band phones are able to use LTE in all countries where it is supported.

Yemen Mobile telecommunications company in Yemen

Yemen Mobile is a CDMA 2000 network provider founded in Yemen in 2004 by the Yemen ministry of telecommunication and is considered the first CDMA network operator in the Middle East. Yemen Mobile CDMA system is based on the HUAWEI Technologies. According to the 3GPP2 standard, CDMA 2000 system is fully compatible with IS-95 cellular phones, so it is normal that any IS-95 phone is supported by Yemen mobile. In 2012, Yemen mobile implemented ZTE network beside Huawei network as well as using LG-Nortel network in some eastern parts of the country. Yemen Mobile is the first 3G company in Yemen that provides CDMA 20001x and EVDO services. Yemen mobile was established in 2004 as a third wireless operator in Yemen and initially provided the circuit switch services beside to packet switch services which enable its customers to use data services and the Internet at a speed of 153 kbit/s as a maximum rate by implementing CDMA20001x which is 2.5G technology according to 3GPP2 standard. By 2007, it had become a corporation company and jumped to the top of mobile operators in the country in term of subscribers number and coverage.

International Mobile Telecommunications-Advanced are the requirements issued by the ITU Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R) of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in 2008 for what is marketed as 4G mobile phone and Internet access service.

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Preceded by
2nd Generation (2G)
Mobile Telephony Generations Succeeded by
4th Generation (4G)