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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 ?
Ismail Shah has stated that they will launch 3G technology in the country by a three-month period.
She said the transparent auction of 3G technology would not only upgrade the mobile phone network infrastructure, but also generate revenue for the country.
GSM operator "Turkcell" had brought the 3G technology to all settlements with over 20,000 population, a company executive said.
And once it's in place, Hewett says, 3G technology will provide a much more cost-efficient network.
The roll out of 3G technology is inevitable as it enables operators to lower the cost of voice and data delivery and supplement their voice and SMS revenue with revenue generating from value-added services.
Most Turks do not know what the 3G technology offers yet.
5 billion in 2000 on W-CDMA 3G technology, second only to the amount spent on GSM, the 2G technology most common around the world.
Wireless operators can now choose to deploy Samsung's 3G capabilities initially, or upgrade to 3G technology at a later date.
ISLAMABAD, April 29, 2010 (Balochistan Times): The Telecom industry is set to be shaken up with the inauguration of 3G Test Bed on Monday as a telecom company is going to test launch the most awaited 3G Technology in Pakistan.
3G technology will increase the speed of the current internet connection in Turkey 10 times, shortening the time to download a movie from 7.
Datang Mobile is recognized as a leading developer and manufacturer of TD-SCDMA 3G technology in China.