3G: Demystified for startups

Tuesday November 16, 2010,

3 min Read


3G: Demystified for startups

Now 3G has been in news for quite some time now, all the non-techies must be wondering what exactly this 3G is? Startups there should start taking notes of updates in this sector

The first 3G was launched by NTT Docomo in 2001. India was pretty late to join the wagon in 2008 when BSNL launched 3G enabled mobile and data services. Incidentally Tata Docomo was first private company to launch 3G services on Nov 15,2010

3G refers to 3rd generation, a standard set by International Telecommunication Union. We moved from 2.5G to 3G in India. 3G technologies enabled faster data-transmission speeds, greater network capacity and more advanced network services.

3G Technology

1. Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA)

It has been the earliest of 3G technology, initially employed by Japan’s NTT DoCoMo in late 90s. The first service was launched by DoCoMo in 2001. Its an air interface using frequency division and time division duplexing.

2. High Speed Downlink Packet Access(HSPA).


It’s a mobile technology protocol, which supports increased peak data rates of upto 14 Mbpsin downlink and 5.8Mbps in uplink. It extends and improves the performance of existing WCDMA. Evolved HSPA (HSPA+) was launched in late 2008 and is being adopted world wide in 2010.

3. CDMA 2000

Even though "W-CDMA" and "CDMA2000" both have "CDMA" in their names, they are completely different systems using different technologies CDMA2000 has two phases: phase one is 1XRTT (144 Kbps) (also known as 1X).

The next evolutionary step is to the two CDMA2000 1X EV ("EV" = "Evolution") standards. CDMA2000 1X EV-DO("Data Only") will use separate frequencies for data and voice.

Capability to support circuit and packet data at high bit rates:

- 144 kilobits/second or higher in high mobility (vehicular) traffic 

- 384 kilobits/second for pedestrian traffic 

- 2 Megabits/second or higher for indoor traffic

Common billing/user profiles:

- Sharing of usage/rate information between service providers

- Standardized call detail recording

- Standardized user profiles

2G Wireless

The technology of most current digital mobile phones

Features includes:
- Phone calls
- Voice mail
- Receive simple email messages

Speed: 10kb/sec

Time to download a 3min MP3 song:
31-41 min

2.5G Wireless

The best technology now widely available

Features includes:
- Phone calls/fax
- Voice mail
-Send/receive large email messages
- Web browsings
- Navigation/maps
- New updates

Speed: 64-144kb/sec

Time to download a 3min MP3 song:

3G Wireless

Combines a mobile phone, laptop PC and TV

Features includes:
- Phone calls/fax
- Global roaming
- Send/receive large email messages
- High-speed Web
- TV streaming
- Electronic agenda meeting reminder.

Speed: 144kb/sec-2mb/sec

Time to download a 3min MP3 song:

source: Newsweek

3G Services

1) Mobile/Live TV

With 3G you enjoy a data rate of 2mbps, which means you can sit and watch your sitcoms or catch the latest trailer in bollywood.

2) Video Conferencing/Streaming

With 3G’s Real time video calling you can do video chat with your friends and family.

One is also armed to exchange video sms or give video interview to firm in San Francisco.

3) 3D and Multiplayer Games

For all the play station afficionados you can now play multiplayer and 3D internet games on your mobile.

4) International Roaming/ Better Coverage

It means now you can roam with mobile around in world effortlessly. 3G has the voice clarity is enhanced vis-a-vis 2g and 2.5G

Let us see how the telcos fare up with 3G expectation with Reliance and airtel all set to join in. The only downside is the pricing, 3G service are costlier than 2G. We will be keeping a close watch on evolution on 3G, so keep looking for this space.

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