3G or 3rd generation mobile telecommunications, is a generation of standards for mobile phones and mobile telecommunication services fulfilling the International Mobile Telecommunications-2000 (IMT — 2000) specifications by the International Telecommunication Union. Application services include wide-area wireless voice telephone, mobile Internet access, video calls and mobile TV, all in a mobile environment. To meet the IMT-2000 standards, a system is required to provide peak data rates of at least 200 kbit/s. Recent 3G releases, often denoted 3.5G and 3.75G, also provide mobile broadband access of several Mbit/s to smartphones and mobile modems in laptop computers.
A new generation of cellular standards has appeared approximately every tenth year since 1G systems were introduced in 1981/1982. Each generation is characterized by new frequency bands, higher data rates and non backwards compatible transmission technology. The first release of the 3GPP Long Term Evolution (LTE) standard does not completely fulfill the ITU 4G requirements called IMT-Advanced. First release LTE is not backwards compatible with 3G, but is a pre-4G or 3.9G technology, however sometimes branded "4G" by the service providers. Its evolution LTE Advanced is a 4G technology. WiMAX is another technology verging on or marketed as 4G
There are evolutionary standards (EDGE and CDMA) that are backwards-compatible extensions to pre-existing 2G networks as well as revolutionary standards that require all-new network hardware and frequency allocations. The cell phones used utilise UMTS in combination with 2G GSM standards and bandwidths, but do not support EDGE. The latter group is the UMTS family, which consists of standards developed for IMT-2000, as well as the independently developed standards DECT and WiMAX, which were included because they fit the IMT-2000 definition.
The first pre-commercial 3G network was launched by NTT DoCoMo in Japan, branded as FOMA. It was first...