What are 1G, 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G of Cellular Mobile Communications, Technology


Modern wireless communication systems were marked by the intervention of the telegraph in 18 century. In 1876 scientist Thomas Edison invented the telephone known as Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) which was established in Western countries.

From that moment new techniques were introduced to improve the quality of telecommunication services such as Modulation, Demodulation, and Cellular concepts.

In an aspect of wireless technology, we have various generations;

  1. 1G: First Generation Networks

1G, is the first generation of wireless mobile communication where analog signals were used to transmit data. It was introduced in the US in the early 1980s and designed exclusively for voice communication.

Characteristics of 1G technology

  1. Speeds up to 2.4Kbps
  2. Poor voice communication
  3. Large phones with limited battery life
  4. No data security.


 The 1G mobile cellular system was an analog speech communication system. 1G has the following technologies;

  1. Nordic Mobile Telephone (NMT) in Europe
  2. Total Access Communication System (TACS) in the United Kingdom
  3. European Total Access Communication System (ETACS)
  4. Advanced Mobile Phone Services (AMPS) in the United States.


In 1G were analog signals / analog systems, they cannot cover the long distance. 1G uses FDMA (Frequency Division Multiple Access) techniques.

  1. 2G: Second Generation Networks

2G technology, is the second generation of a mobile telephone which used digital signals for the first time. It was launched in Finland in 1991 and used GSM technology.

2G is a digital technology and its signal uses a digital signal, which means they convert analog signal to digital signal and digital signal to analog signal. Digital signals can cover long distances. 2G cellular systems were deployed to overcome 1G limitations. In 2G new access techniques were introduced like TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access) and CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access).

2G supports Voice and Data signals.

Characteristics of 2G technology;

  1. Data speed up to 64Kbps
  2. Text multimedia messaging is possible
  3. Better quality than 1G.

In 2G technology, when the GPRS was introduced, it enables web browsing, e-mail services, and fast upload/download speed.


2G has the following technologies;

  1. Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM), is a very successful technology in second-generation (2G) having voice communication.
  2. Digital Cordless System (DCS)


2.5G: Second Generation Networks

2.5G was original from the ideas of 2 G, 2.5 G this technology is also called GPRS (General Packet Radio Service). 2.5 G modifying the air interface so that it could handle data as well as voice. The data rate in GPRS (2.5 G) is very less. The data rate for GPRS is 56Kbps to 64Kbps.


       2.75G: Second Generation Networks

The low data rate in 2.5 G leads to the move into 2.75 G generation. 2.75 G is also known as EDGE (Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution). The data rate for EDGE is 170Kbps.


  1. 3G: Third Generation Networks

3G also called UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunication System) with a data rate of 384Kbps. 3 G introduces video calling because of its high data rate.

3G support Voice, Data, and Video Signals.

Characteristics of 3G technology

  1. Data speeds of 144Kbps to 2Mbps
  2. High-speed web browsing
  3. Running web-based applications like video conferencing, multimedia, email, etc.
  4. Fast and easy transfer of audio and video files.


Some drawbacks of 3G technology

Expensive mobile phones, high infrastructure costs like licensing fees and mobile towers, and a trained person required for infrastructure setup.

  1. 4G: Fourth Generation Networks

It was introduced in 2011. Have a high data rate with 1Gbps for stationary users (for low mobility or pedestrian speeds or fixed) and 100 Mbps for high mobility users.

Characteristics of 4G technology;

  1. Speeds of 100Mbps to 1Gbps
  2. Mobile web access
  3. High definition mobile TV
  4. Cloud computing


Key technologies for 4G are;

  1. OFDM
  2. multiple antenna techniques
  3. Adaptive modulation and coding (AMC) and
  4. Hybrid-ARQ (HARQ).

4G, have high speed and IP based.


  1. 5G: Fifth Generation Networks

5G is the official commercial in 2020 with a high data rate of about 5Gbps. Complete wireless with almost no limitations.


Benefits of 5g technology

  1. High speed, high capacity
  2. Providing large broadcasting of data in Gbps
  3. Multimedia newspaper, watch TV programs with HD quality
  4. Faster transmission of data.

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