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Difference Between 2G and 3G

What is 2G

2G is known as Global system of Mobile communication (GSM) which is generally called 2nd Generation telephony system. It is a process of digital wireless communication. 2G deals with voice call and Short Service Me

ssage (SMS). In past we used 1G system which is known as analog Mobile communication. In this type of communication we used analog signal to create a communication through wire. But in 2G system we use digital signal to create a communication through wireless.

This technology was first introduced in 1991 in Finland. 2G is based on circuit switching system which consists of a set of switches connected by physical links. There may be one or more links connected together in a dedicated path. In 2G system, multiple techniques are used to let everybody talk that is TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access) and FDMA (Frequency Division Multiple Access). These techniques allow to make calls at given time with many subscribers.

GSM comes in three frequency bands 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 1900MHz. Asia and Europe use GSM 900 and GSM 1800. U.S.A and Canada use GSM 1900. From those frequency bands voice is digitalized by using full rate coding. For every user the allocated bandwidth channel is 200 kHz and for GSM data rate in air interface is 270kbps. Roaming is one more facility which is provided by 2G GSM.

What is 3G

3G stands for 3rd generation telephony system. 3G is a specification name of mobile communication technology which is used together with IMT (International Mobile Telecommunication-2000) specification. 3G was first launched in Japan in the year of 2001. It is a better multimedia telephony system with voice call and video calling. This technique uses both circuit switching and packet switching technologies. In packet switching system there are no reserved bandwidth on the links, and no scheduled time for processing each packet. The packets are allocated as first come, first served basis.

As there is no reservation of resource allocation for a packet, the process is faster than other systems because 3G provides a wide band wireless networks with more voice clarity. In case of 3G the air interface technology is a variation of CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) which is called WCDMA, CDMA2000, CDMA2000 1x EV-DO. WCDMA utilizes 5MHz bandwidth of data rates. Data rates for the 3G are 2Mbps for those mobile users who are not moving and 384Kbps for moving subscribers. 3G provide us not restricted global roaming service.

3G gives faster surfing and download from internet. Its gives us some more facilities like Mobile T.V, video conferencing, mobile gaming, Multi Media Message service (MMS).

Difference between 2G and 3G

2G and 3G both are as milestones used in mobile communication technology over a distinct period. There are so many differences between them which are explained in following image:


  • 2G Technology is based on circuit switching system, 3G Technology is based on packet switching system.
  • 2G uses TDMA or FDMA for multiple access technology, and 3G uses variations of CDMA like WCDMA,CDMA2000, CDMA2000 1x EV-DO.
  • 2G provides only voice call and SMS. 3G provides voice call, video conferencing, high speed internet, Mobile T.V etc.
  • Air interface data rate in 2G is 270kbps, and for 3G air interface data rate is 2Mbps for stationary cell phone and 384kbps for moving cell phone at download link.
  • In 2G Technologies A5 ciphering algorithm is used for encryption data but in 3G Technology KASUMI Encryption is used for encryption of data which is more preferable encryption than 2G in mobile communication.
  • Security is better in 3G than 2G.
  • The voice clarity is much better in 3G than 2G.
  • 3G technology is more expensive than 2G.
  • In 2G there is buffering system in case of streaming video, but in 3G there is no buffering.
  • 2G network provides GPRS or EDGE system having speed between 56 kbps to 236.8kbps and 3G network provides EVDO or HSUPA system having speed between 384 kbps to 2Mbps.

So from now on, make you conscious decision whenever you are purchasing a mobile handset or a portable network device for internet services. The differences between 2G and 3G are clear to you now and it is very useful to remember the benefits you are going to have on a 3G platform. Not to mention, 4G is also not far to become part of the common people’s life.

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