Types of 3G
There are two main flavors of 3G: UMTS (Universal Mobile Telephone Service), which is rolled out over existing GSM networks, and CDMA2000, which brings 3G speeds to CDMA networks; for a detailed explanation of terms, see the glossary
. Both UMTS and CDMA2000--which has two high-speed offshoots, the data-only 1xEV-DO and the voice-plus-data 1xEV-DV--are already available in major cities and select suburban areas with further expansion set for the future. Speeds for both should be about DSL level. AT&T has also launched a 3.5G speed network in 2006 dubbed HSDPA (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access), which starts off at around 1.8Mbps and can theoretically get speeds of up to a blistering 14.4Mbps. There have also been talks of 4G technologies such as WiMax, which should provide even faster speeds.
The LG CU720 Shine is a shiny HSDPA phone from AT&T.
The Palm Centro from Sprint has EV-DO support.
See the Samsung Sync in action.
Of course, you'll need a 3G-capable phone to use one of the new high-speed networks. After a slow start, a wide assortment of 3G handsets is now available from the carriers. All the mobiles offer support for the new 3G networks, and they come in a variety of styles, from stylish and trendy--such as the LG Venus VX8800
for Verizon--to simple and functional, as in the Samsung SPH-M520
for Sprint. For a complete list of phones, see the next page
or all new cell phone reviews
. As for 3.5G phones, HSDPA-supported phones include the LG CU720 Shine
and the AT&T Tilt
Laptop users also can take advantage of 3G networks for on-the-go broadband without a Wi-Fi network; all you need is a carrier-supplied PC Card. There are PC cards for both EV-DO and HSDPA networks. Services and speeds
| ||Technology ||Speeds ||Features
| 1G ||AMPS ||n/a ||Analog
| 2G ||GSM |
|Less than 20Kbps ||Voice; SMS; conference calls; caller ID; push to talk
| 2.5G ||GPRS |
|30Kbps to 90Kbps ||MMS; images; Web browsing; short audio/video clips; games, applications, and ring tone downloads
| 3G ||UMTS |
|144Kbps to 2Mbps ||Full-motion video; streaming music; 3D gaming; faster Web browsing
| 3.5G ||HSDPA (upgrade for UMTS) |
|384Kbps to 14.4Mbps ||On-demand video; videoconferencing
| 4G and beyond ||WiMax* ||100Mbps to 1Gbps ||High-quality streaming video;
high-quality videoconferencing; Voice-over-IP telephony
*WiMax has been mentioned as a possible 4G technology, but no standards have been set.