Mobile Generations: Understanding What Powers Your Cellular Signal

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The differences between 2G, 3G and 4G and what to expect with 5G

As with everything, mobile telecommunications standards have generations in the form of ‘G’. While 3G and 4G are current standards 5G is looming just around the corner. This blog hopes to answer your questions regarding the differences between the mobile generations. The chart below outlines the offerings for each generation.






Basic voice service Designed for voice Designed for voice
with text and internet
Designed primarily
for data
Analog-based protocols Improved coverage First mobile broadband IP-based protocols
First digital standards
True mobile broadband


Another key differentiator between the mobile generations is the ever-increasing need for speed as illustrated in the chart below. To learn more go to:

1G: 2.4 kbps

2G: 64 kbps

3G: 2,000 kbps

4G: 100,000 kbps

CDMA and GSM are the two cellular standards in place. They function in different regions and allow for global communication between people but they convert incoming and outgoing data into radio waves differently. Neither standard should be a huge factor in buying a cell phone, but CDMA is notorious for keeping you locked into your carrier.


CDMA vs. GSM the Wireless Signal Carriers for 3G and 4G

CDMA networks allow for a greater number of users due to its wider reach to more phones with fewer mobile towers. This is important in rural areas where there are less mobile towers.

On the other hand, GSM phones can be transferred to other networks. Since GSM phones don’t require access to a specific carrier’s bands they work in other countries with GSM networks.


5G is Coming. Will you be ready?

While 5G networks aren’t expected to roll out until at least 2020, the hype is already here. At the Mobile World Congress tech show there were promises of 5G powered drones, 5G toy racing cars, as well as the proliferation of devices that will require a mobile internet connection such as:

Home Appliances
Door Locks
Security Cameras

Gartner predicts that 20.8 billion devices will be connected to the Internet by 2020 (

One thing is for certain, in the future with billions of devices connected, blazing fast Internet will be a necessity – welcome 5G.

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