What is 3G Service? Definition of 3G Service

A Telecommunications Tower. Getty Images / Maurizio Chiocchetti

3G service, also known as third-generation service, is high-speed access to data and voice services, made possible by the use of a 3G network. A 3G network is a high-speed mobile broadband network, offering data speeds of at least 144 kilobits per second (Kbps).

For comparison, a dial-up Internet connection on a computer typically offers speeds of about 56 Kbps. If you've ever sat and waited for a Web page to download over a dial-up connection, you know how slow that is.

3G networks can offer speeds of 3.1 megabits per second (Mbps) or more; that's on par with speeds offered by cable modems. In day-to-day use, the actual speed of the 3G network will vary. Factors such as signal strength, your location, and network traffic all come into play.

4G and 5G are newer mobile network standards.

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