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ABCs of Mobile Phone Technology

Dont be misled by the title , its just a list of some common terms used to describe the technology a particular phone is using . So dont be left behind read and take down notes .

0G :standing for the 1st generation of mobile phones, were satellite phones developed for boats mainly - but anyone could get one in one’s car in the beginning of the 90s for several thousand dollars. Networks such as Iridium, Global Star and Eutelsat were truly worldwide (although for physical reasons, think of a satellite as a fixed point above the equator, some Northern parts of Scandinavia aren’t reachable), and everybody thought at that time that satellite phones would become mainstream products as soon as devices got smaller and cheaper. This vision proved wrong when the GSM concretely came to life in 1990/1991 in Finland.

1G: Firstly, there were analog GSM systems, that existed for a few years. And then came the digital systems.

2G: the second generation of mobile telecommunications still is the most widespread technology in the world; you’ve basically all heard of the GSM norm (GSM stands for Groupe Spécial Mobile in French, renamed in Global System for Mobility). The GSM operates in the 850Mhz. and 1900Mhz. bands in the US, & 900Mhz. and 1.8Mhz. bands in the rest of the world and delivers data at the slow rate of 9.6 Kbytes/sec. In related development , 2G phones are no longer being produced in Japan .

2.5G: For that last reason (9.6 Kbytes/sec doesn’t allow you to browse the Net or up/download an image), telco operators came up with the General Packet Radio System or GPRS (remember all the hype around the WAP) which could enable much faster communications. It provides data rates from 56 up to 114 kbit/s.. But the market decided it was still not enough compared to what they had at home.

2.75G:In reality 2.75G does not exist it is just used to differentiate mobile phones that is EDGE capable but basically it is still a 2.5G phone . EDGE
EDGE (Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution) or EGPRS provides data transfer rates significantly faster than GPRS or HSCSD. EDGE increases the speed of each timeslot to 48 kbps and allows the use of up to 8 timeslots, giving a maximum data transfer rate of 384 kbps. In places where an EDGE network is not available, GPRS will automatically be used instead. EDGE offers the best that can be achieved with a 2.5G network, but eventually was replaced by 3G.

3G: also called UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications Standard). Aimed at enabling long expected videoconferencing, although nobody seems to actually use it . Its other name is 3GSM, which says literally that UMTS is 3 times better than GSM. One issue though: depending on the deployment level of the area you are in and your device, your phone will (have to be) handle(d) from the GSM network to the UMTS network, and conversely - making billing more complex to understand for the consumers. One of the major positive points of UMTS is its global roaming capabilities (roaming is the process that allows you, at a cost, to borrow bandwidth from a telco provider that’s not yours; you usually use roaming when calling from abroad).

3.5G or 3G+: High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) is a 3G (third generation) mobile telephony communications protocol in the High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA) family, which allows networks based on Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) to have higher data transfer speeds and capacity. Current HSDPA deployments support down-link speeds of 1.8, 3.6, 7.2 and 14.4 Mbit/s.

As of this moment , these are the common standards that we see in the Philippines but outside the Philippines you expect networks that is far superior that 3G or 3.5G (4G anyone? or perhaps 5G ?)

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