3G technology

3G (Third Generation) is also known as UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) and is said to be the next generation of mobile network. 3G is described by Cellular (2004) as being a generic name for a set of mobile technologies which comprise a host of high-tech infrastructure networks, handsets, base stations, switches and other equipment. This technology enables cell phones to offer high-speed Internet access, data, video and CD-quality music services.

The 3G technologies are turning phones and other devices into multmedia players, making it possible to download music and video clips. The new service is called the “freedom of mobile multimedia access” (FOMA), and it uses wideband code division multiple access (W-CDMA) technology to transfer data over its networks. W-CDMA sends data in a digital format over a range of frequencies, which makes the data move faster, but also uses more bandwidth than digital voice services. W-CDMA is not the only 3G technology; competing technologies include CDMAOne, which differs technically, but should provide similar services.

Average speeds for 3G networks will range between 64Kbps and 384Kbps, quite a jump when compared to common wireless data speeds in the United States that are often slower than a 14.4Kb modem. 3G is considered high-speed or broadband mobile Internet access, and in the future 3G networks are expected to reach speeds of more than 2Mbps.

FOMA services are available within a 20-mile radius around the center of Tokyo, the company plans to introduce it to other Japanese cities by the end of the year. But services and phones are expensive and uptake of this market is expected to be slow.

3G is the third generation of mobile phone standards and technology, superseding 2G, and preceding 4G. It is based on the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) family of standards under the International Mobile Telecommunications programme, IMT-2000.

3G technologies enable network operators to offer users a wider range of more advanced services while achieving greater network capacity through improved spectral efficiency. Services include wide-area wireless voice telephony, video calls, and broadband wireless data, all in a mobile environment. Additional features also include HSPA data transmission capabilities able to deliver speeds up to 14.4Mbit/s on the downlink and 5.8Mbit/s on the uplink.

Unlike research 802.11 (common names Wi-Fi or WLAN) networks, 3G networks are wide area cellular telephone networks which evolved to incorporate high-speed internet access and video telephony. research 802.11 networks are short range, high-bandwidth networks primarily developed for data.

mplementation and history

The first pre-commercial 3G network was launched by NTT DoCoMo in Japan branded FOMA, in May 2001 on a pre-release of W-CDMA-GA3Y technology. The first commercial launch of 3G was also by NTT DoCoMo in Japan on October 1, 2001. The second network to go commercially live was by SK Telecom in South Korea on the CDMA2000 1xEV-DO technology in January 2002. By May 2002 the second South Korean 3G network was launched by KTF on EV-DO and thus the Koreans were the first to see competition among 3G operators.

The first European pre-commercial network was at the Isle of Man by Manx Telecom, the operator owned by British Telecom, and the first commercial network in Europe was opened for business by Telenor in December 2001 with no commercial handsets and thus no paying customers. These were both on the W-CDMA technology.

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 in October 2003 also on CDMA2000 1x EV-DO, and this network has grown strongly since then.

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 in April 2003. Australia’s largest and fastest 3G UMTS/HSDPA network was launched by Telstra branded as “NextG(tm)” on the 850 MHz band in October 2006, intended as a replacement of their cdmaOne network Australia wide.

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. In Asia, Europe, Canada and the USA, telecommunication companies use W-CDMA technology with the support of around 100 terminal designs to operate 3G mobile networks.

In Europe, mass market commercial 3G services were introduced starting in March 2003 by 3 (Part of Hutchison Whampoa) in the UK and Italy. The European Union Council suggested that the 3G operators should cover 80% of the European national populations by the end of 2005.

Roll-out of 3G networks was delayed in some countries by the enormous costs of additional spectrum licensing fees. (See Telecoms crash.) In many countries, 3G networks do not use the same radio frequencies as 2G, so mobile operators must build entirely new networks and license entirely new frequencies; an exception is the United States where carriers operate 3G service in the same frequencies as other services. The license fees in some European countries were particularly high, bolstered by government auctions of a limited number of licenses and sealed bid


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