2G NetworksAs of mid 2009, the majority GPS (Global System for Mobile or Groupe Speciale Mobile) and CDMA mobile telephones in the United States operated on the 2G network. 2G is an acronym which means "second generation." 2G phones use a digital signal transmitted from radio transmission towers, as opposed to 1G mobile phones, which used analog signals. Although 2G phones have greater data transmission capabilities than 1G phones, the capacity is limited.
3G NetworksAmong the newest network technology for mobile phones is the 3G network. 3G is an acronym which stands for "third generation." 3G telephones work on both the GSM and CDMA networks. 3G technology features very fast transmission of the mobile signal, which vastly expands the data transmission capabilities of phones which run on 3G networks.
3G Network AdvantagesThe lightning-fast data transmission capabilities of 3G opens up a world of features for cell phones which operate on 3G networks. This includes streaming video and much faster uploads and downloads. Other features vary by the particular model of the mobile phone. For instance, the 3G iPhone features GPS (Global Positioning System) capabililities, where the 2G model does not.
3G Network DisadvantagesThe major disadvantage for 3G network plans centers around pricing. Generally, 3G network price points are much higher than 2G networks with comparable features. In addition, the allowed minutes are often set at a much lower threshold than for 2G plans of a similar price range.
Considerations3G network phones have been in wide use in Japan for years. The introduction of 3G phones in the United States means that is may now be possible to travel to Japan and use your regular mobile phone, rather than renting a 3G phone. Many network providers are concentrating their services on 3G networks to the detriment of 2G service. AT&T confirmed in 2009 that it had switched from the 850 MHz band to using the weaker 1900 MHz band in some areas after the introduction of phones for its 3G network.
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