Difference between 3G and 4G Technology

Mobiles too have generations to follow… in the form of ‘G’. The current standards, adopted in form of wireless network, are 3G and 4G technology. What is 3G and what is 4G? What is the difference between 3G and 4G technology? The subsequent sections  of this article discuss both these mobile telecommunication standards in detail and the factors which differentiate them.


Both 3G and 4G technology are the communication standards set for wireless technology by international telecommunications committee (ITU-R). The standard here is referred in terms of how the airwaves transmit the voice and the data over the networks. Difference between 3G and 4G The basic difference between 3G and 4G is in terms of speed through which the data transmission occurs from the sources to the device and also the signal quality to transmit the information. The 3G (Third Generation) network technology, developed in the year 2000, offer higher speed rates to the data transfer as compared to its predecessor networks (Namely 1G and 2G, read difference between 2G and 3G).  The access to the internet through mobile is made much faster with 3G.  The minimum speed limit is 2mbps for the data transfer on the internet. The 3G is also termed asmobile broadband technology’ as it allows one to access the internet subject to the divergent data transfer rates (measured in kbps). The 4G (Fourth Generation) network also termed as LTE(Long Term Evolution), was introduced, in the year 2010 by AT&T, with the intention of faster internet speed as compared to 3G. The 4G network offers 5 times higher speed than 3G.   The 4G offers uninterrupted web access with the option of downloading high quality audio to high definition videos, TV programs without any buffering time (Seamless connection).  It is also termed as MAGIC – Mobile multimedia, Anytime anywhere, Global mobility support and Customized Personal service. The 4G domain can be used on mobile phones, PDA and laptop for a seamless connection to voice/audio presentations, entertainment services, and high speed information access. It is an IP based wireless internet technology with the IP as an integration tool to the satellite systems, broadcasting units, broad band ranges of 3G, WLAN (wireless local area network) and PAN (personal area network) etc.


The technology carriers (Wireless signal) for 3G  and 4G

The CDMA (Sprint and Verizon) is preferred over GSM (T-Mobile and AT&T) radio technology due to its wider reach to more phones with fewer mobile towers.

This has more economic advantage in rural areas where it is not a feasible option to establish a cell tower.  With GSM, one can simply swap SIM cards between the phones, as this technology has major networks and provides more choices to the phones.

The CDMA has another sub-type, called EV-DO, which again is sub-divided to EV-DO Rev 0 and Rev A which has a data transfer speed of 2.4mbps to 3.1mbps respectively. The EV-DO Rev B data transfer speed is between 4.9 Mbps to 14.7 Mbps.


For 3G technology the T-mobile is the best option and the AT&T is preferred carrier for 4G.  

The need for 4G Technology
  • For wider bandwidth for Seamless access to the multimedia, tele conferencing & full motion video
  • For uninterrupted global roaming and easy access to all the services with integrated standard networks
  •  For high end mobile ultra-broadband internet accessibility with low cost per bit


The Benefits of 3G
  • Faster access to the internet to download high quality movies, audios, games etc.
  • Video calls/conferencing facilities
  • Access to weather reports, news or any other information and also provides highlights of the popular shows and sports
  • Multiplayer’s gaming option


 The Benefits of 4G
  • Higher bandwidth so a very quick access to the internet
  • Can easily watch TV, streaming videos, albums, and also get access to social media, information, entertainment and online stores
  • Location services, games, chat etc.
  • Video conferencing


The difference between 3G and 4G technology in tabular form:
3G 4G

The predecessor network to 4G with a higher data transfer rates to access audio and internet data.

The successor to 3G network with much higher speed and access to audio and video files without any buffers.

It is termed as Broadband Mobile Technology and uses packet data transmission.

It is termed as ‘MAGIC’.

Major 3G technologies are EDGE, CDMA2000, UMTS, etc.

Major 4G technologies are HSPA+, LTE, Wimax2, etc.

3G permits a minimum speed of 2Mpbs for stationary mobile and 384 Kbps for moving

The data transfer rates measured in ‘mega’ and the range is 20 to 1Gbps.

Switching Technique – Packet Switching

Switching Technique – Packet Switching and Message Switching

The frequency band is only 1.5-2.8 GHZ

The frequency band is 2-8 GHZ


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