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What are 3G Phones?

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  • Written By: Jason C. Chavis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 02 December 2016
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2016
    Conjecture Corporation
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3G phones are mobile telephony devices that operate on the 3G network. These mobile receivers and transmitters are more expensive than earlier models of cellular phones and cannot operate on either a 1G or 2G network.

Cellular phones were originally introduced in the 1980s when the Advanced Mobile Phone Service network was launched. This was the first generation network and operated with a technology called Frequency Division Multiplexing Access. This network was able to carry voice services over 800 megahertz frequency bands from phone to phone.

Two different versions of 2G phones were implemented during the 1990s. The North American method employed the Code Division Multiple Access system that increased the telephony service to 64 users per channel. The rest of the world used the Time Division Multiple Access method that allowed for eight different users per channel.

When the International Telecommunications Union introduced the IMT-2000 system, new models of cellular phones were introduced. These 3G phones can not only deliver voice services over the network, but also feature multimedia applications such as video and broadband technology. The range and speed of 3G phones is also far more efficient than 1G and 2G.

These phones offer download speeds of 14.4 megabits per second and upload speeds of 5.8 megabits per second. During stationary use, the minimum speed is 2 megabits per second. When a user is in a moving vehicle, the speed drops to 348 kilobits per second.

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3G phones are controlled by a multi-layer system. General service is placed on the top layer, data control is transmitted on the middle layer, while basic connectivity information is located on the bottom layer. This creates a distinct advantage over WiFi, which generally has a shorter range in its network and focus primarily on Internet access. 3G phones have Internet capabilities with all of the advantages of secure layering.

3G phones have created concerns over security, however. Each mobile-to-mobile connection is secured with an encryption data process known as KASUMI block crypto. Previous generations of cellular devices used A5/1 stream cipher, which has fewer weaknesses due to its limited capabilities.

While 3G phones have become commonplace in North America, Europe, Japan and South Korea, much of the world still operates with the older devices. This is because of the expenses of implementing a new network and licensing agreements which can vary drastically in different countries. In an effort to mitigate these problems and help foster deployment of 3G phones, the 3rd Generation Partnership Project was formed in 1998. This has helped the evolution of the technology proceed more smoothly throughout the world.

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