What Is General Packet Radio Service (GRPS)?

GPRS is a type of wireless data connection. It stands for General Packet Radio Service and is a second generation (2G) and third generation (3G)--or sometimes referred to as in-between both generations, 2.5G--wireless data service that extends GSM data capabilities for Internet access, multimedia messaging services, and early mobile Internet applications via the wireless application protocol (WAP), as well as other wireless data services.

Features of GPRS

GPRS was one of the earliest cell phone data access technologies, and more widespread particularly in Europe and Asia, though it was adopted by carriers in North America, such as Rogers in Canada and T-Mobile in the US.

2G (second generation) GPRS service had data rates of 56-114 kbit/second--akin to dial-up modem speeds.

GPRS wireless networks were later enhanced to faster 3G (third generation) throughput speeds. T-Mobile's EDGE (enhanced Data Rates for Global Evolution), for example, delivers up to 4 times the GPRS rate.

Both GPRS and Edge, however, are quickly being surpassed by even faster 4G (fourth-generation) mobile data networks.

Examples: GPRS, which refers to a mobile or wireless data service, is not the same as GPS, which refers to geo-location. GPRS data networks enable users to access Web data and rich content from their cell phones.