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(1) (3rd Generation) The third version of a product or system. See iPhone 3G.

(2) (3rd Generation) The previous generation of cellular transmission, which features moderately high speed for Internet access compared to the very sluggish 2G systems. As 4G LTE technology proliferates, carriers maintain their 3G networks for compatibility with millions of cellphones that rely on 3G technology (for the difference between 3G and Wi-Fi, see cellular vs. Wi-Fi).

Several advanced, higher-speed 3G technologies have been officially sanctioned as 4G (see cellular generations). In the U.S., the major 3G technologies are EV-DO for CDMA networks, such as used by Verizon and Sprint, and HSPA for GSM networks for carriers such as AT&T and T-Mobile. See EV-DO, HSPA and 4G.

The Network Makes a Difference
These iPhone speed tests were taken at the same time using AT&T's slower 2G EDGE (E) network and its faster 3G network. Speed is always based on the number of active users in the cell. This test was performed in 2009.
References in periodicals archive ?
Professor Bruce Armstrong, of the University of Sydney, who contributed to the WHO report, suggests that new 3G technology phones are better than the 2G phones, as "the 3G phones give a much lower dose to the brain than the previous generations.
A very important observation, really, just based on the technology, is that the 3G phones in fact give a much lower dose to the brain than the previous generations," Professor Armstrong said.
He estimates that around 70% of 3G phones have got IQE technology in them.
5G and 3G phones from mainland China and Taiwan can expect increased supply and more value-added models in the coming months.
The technology enables anybody with a web cam or a 3G phone to create their own TV show and broadcast it over the internet live.
86 million units in 2005 due partly to a shift among customers to higher-end 3G phones and discounts offered by phone carriers, an industry group said Tuesday.
Taiwanese makers are not expected to begin shipping 3G phones until 2007.
PixAlert offers the solutions that identify, eliminate and prevent unwanted images that get on to desktops or networks via any point of entry including email, memory sticks, laptops, digital cameras, scanners, CDs/DVDs, Wi-Fi or 3G phones.
Lessons are filmed using digital cameras, edited down into 15-minute segments, then sent to students with 3G phones.
5G handsets-bringing the cost of 3G phones down to a 2.
More seriously, 3G phones could be used as a means for sexual discrimination - such as a male employee sending an image of a female colleague to his friends or co-workers.
According to some observers, Symbian will rule 3G phones.