2G vs 3G 4G vs 5G How Do These Cellular Network Standards Compare

2G vs 3G And 4G vs 5G: How Do These Cellular Networks Compare?

2G vs 3G & 4G vs 5G: How Do These Cellular Network Standards Compare? The major difference between 2G and 3G networks for mobile subscribers is that 3G enables faster Internet browsing and data downloading.

While the primary distinction between 4G and 5G is speed, 5G will be significantly faster than 4G while providing lower latency and greater bandwidth.




  • Internet speeds of up to 64 kbps
  • Digital signals are used instead of analog signals
  • SMS and MMS services have been enabled (Multimedia Message)
  • Improved the performance of voice calls
  • It had a frequency range of 30 to 200 kHz


What is 2G?


Second-generation mobile technology (2G) is the telecom network technology introduced in 1991 by Radiolinja in Finland on the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) standard.


The major notable improvement of 2G over its predecessor is digital encryption of telephone conversations and higher signal quality. This improvement increases the usage of smartphones.


The Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) is the technology standard for 2G mobile networks. Other technologies used for 2G mobile networks include Digital Advanced Mobile Phone System (D-AMPS) and Interim Standard 95 (IS-95).


2G used two new access technologies, Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) and Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA).

Access technologies are the mobile radio network elements that enable a phone to connect to the network wirelessly via radio waves.


However, the first GSM and D-AMPS networks were circuit-switched and not intended to provide efficient data services.

GSM networks released an update known as General Packet Radio Service (GPRS). GPRS is a 2G improvement, also known as 2.5G.

It paved the way for 3G data services, which later used the same network nodes that GPRS originally introduced.

These nodes are called Serving GPRS Support Node (SGSN) and Global Gateway Support Node (GGSN) and are part of the mobile core network (Gateway GPRS Support Node).




  • High speed of up to 2 Mbps
  • Increased data transfer speed and bandwidth
  • Send and receive bulk email messages
  • Broadband capabilities and large capacities


What is 3G?


Third Generation Mobile Telecommunications, 3G, developed as a result of the International Telecommunication Union’s (ITU) IMT-2000 initiative (International Mobile Telecommunications-2000).


(3G) systems deliver high-quality digital content to mobile devices through faster and more convenient communication systems, anytime and anywhere.


There have been two 3G migration tracks that used Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) technology. The first track was UMTS, which migrated GSM networks to 3G, and the second track was CDMA2000, used for IS-95 and D-AMPS.


The first track, Universal Mobile Telecommunication System (UMTS) uses Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) to provide high point download data rates of up to 2 Mbps.

The average UMTS data rate is around 384 kbps. UMTS technology built High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA) networks.


For HSPA, peak downlink and uplink speeds can reach 14.4 Mbps and 5.76 Mbps, respectively.

UMTS is part of the 3GPP Release 1999, and it got improved with High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA), High-Speed Uplink Packet Access (HSUPA), and Evolved High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA+) to provide data speed improvements.

HSPA+ can provide downlink data rates of up to 42 Mbps and uplink data rates of 11.5 Mbps.


2G VS 3G


The major difference between 2G and 3G networks for mobile subscribers is that 3G allows for faster internet browsing and data downloading.

The average data communication speed on a 2G network is 170Kbps, whereas downloading speeds on 3G networks can reach 42Mbps (or 43,000 Kbps).


Nevertheless, there are some drawbacks because, in 3G, all subscribers share the same basic data node for connectivity.

At first, when the node is nearly empty, all subscribers will enjoy maximum speeds; however, as the network’s subscriber base grows, the data node will populate, resulting in slower speeds for all subscribers.

The speed decreases since all subscribers must share the same data capacity. An increase in network capacity can resolve this problem over time.




  • Enabled Interactive multimedia, voice, and video.
  • High speed, large capacity, and low bit cost (speeds of up to 20 Mbps or more)
  • Mobile networks that are global and scalable
  • Multi-hop and ad hoc networks


What is 4G?


Fourth-generation wireless (4G) is a cellular wireless standard network that succeeded the third generation of broadband mobile communications.

The International Telecommunication Union’s radio sector (ITU-R) defines (4G) standards as International Mobile Telecommunications Advanced (IMT-Advanced).


An IMT-Advanced cellular system safely provides mobile service users with bandwidth exceeding 90 Mbps, sufficient for high-quality streaming multimedia content.

Functioning 3G technologies, such as mobile WiMAX and 3G LTE, most termed Pre-4G, fall short of this bandwidth requirement.


LTE networks provide high point downlink data rates of up to 300 Mbps while also having lower latencies than 3G networks.

Because of the average speeds they facilitate, 4G LTE networks provide reliable mobile broadband services to customers.

LTE on your phone can also function as a mobile hotspot, acting as a backup internet connection for your home broadband.


Following the launch of LTE, some improvements in the form of LTE Advanced (LTE-A) and LTE Advanced Pro were introduced (LTE+).

LTE-Advanced and LTE-Advanced Pro can support theoretical speeds up to 1 Gbps and 3Gbps, respectively. However, average 4G LTE speeds are significantly lower than peak speeds.




  • 5G is to be 60 to 120 times faster
  • 5G is made available by a system known as beamforming
  • Speeds of up to 10 Gbps
  • 5G Radio millimeter bands in the 30 GHz to 300 GHz range.


What Is (5G)


Fifth-generation wireless (5G) is a wireless networking architecture based on the IEEE 802.11ac wireless networking standard aiming to triple data communication speeds over its predecessor, (4G). (IEEE 802.11n)


5G integrates the architectural changes recommended by IEEE 802.11ac and operates at 5 GHz. 5G New Radio (NR) technology, like LTE, is based on Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA).

However, it differs from previous generations of mobile networks in that it can support a wide range of use cases by leveraging its inherent flexibility. It can operate in a variety of frequency bands, including high and low frequencies.


Higher frequency bands for 5G have limited coverage but extremely low latency (less than one millisecond), making them suitable for real-time services.

There are three types of 5G use cases: enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB), massive Machine Type Communication (mMTC), and ultra-reliable low latency communications (uRLLC).


4G VS 5G


4G uses radio masts to provide cell service and internet connectivity to mobile devices. 5G is similar to 4G in many ways, but it incorporates new technology and higher radio frequencies.


Also, 5G networks use more base stations to provide faster internet speeds and faster response times. Some 5G providers intend to decentralize their networks (via a method called “edge computing”) in the future to make them more adaptable to a variety of uses.


Even though 5G networks currently depend largely on 4G and 4G LTE towers, cellular companies are working to develop “standalone” 5G networks based on a few core concepts.


List Of Carriers Launching 5G In Nigeria


  • MTN Nigeria
  • Mafab Nigeria Communications Limited

The Federal Government of Nigeria has implied that:

  • Abuja
  • Lagos
  • Rivers
  • Kaduna
  • Gombe
  • Anambra


The first six states in Nigeria will be to gain from 5G technology between 2022 and 2023. It confirmed that other states would start receiving 5G services in 2025.


Is It Worth Buying 5G Phones Right Now?

Samsung and several other mobile brands are currently marketing their 5G phones in Nigeria. But is it worth investing in now?

The truth is it depends. If you’re only updating to get your hands on a 5G smartphone, you might be screwing things up for various reasons.

Nigeria currently has no 5G networks. However, it is in the works. The best action is to wait until 5G is operational in the country.


A 5G smartphone, on the other hand, would be a wise investment if you want to upgrade your phone right now and keep it until the 5G network becomes available.

If you’re out looking for a new Samsung phone to buy, check out this collection of new Samsung smartphones here.


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