eneration) The third version of a product or system. For example, the third generation of cellular transmission featured moderately high speed for Internet access compared to the earlier and slow 2G systems. Like 1G and 2G cellular, 3G was a circuit-switched network, which changed to packets with 4G (see LTE
In the U.S., the 3G technologies were EV-DO for CDMA networks and HSPA for GSM carriers. In the early 2020s, carriers began shutting off their 3G networks to shift all resources to 4G, which is widely deployed, and the emerging 5G. The end of all 3G is expected in 2022. See cellular generations
, 3G + Wi-Fi
The Network Makes a Difference
3G vastly improved speed over the very sluggish 2G networks. These earlier iPhone speed tests were taken at the same time in 2009 using AT&T's 2G EDGE (E) and 3G networks. Speed is based on the network technology and number of active users in the cell.