3G Vs 4G: What’s The Difference?

3G Vs 4G: What's The Difference?

3G and 4G are both standards in communication technology. These standards determine the usage of airwaves in transmitting data and voice. 3G was incepted in Japan in 2001. Networks for most wireless carriers were 3G till mid-2010. 3G networks improved the speed and performance of 2G networks and 4G networks have done the same to 3G.

The data throughput of 3G is up to 3.1 Mbps. For 4G in real world scenarios the data throughput is 3.1 to 5 Mbps with potential up to 100 to 300 Mbps. The peak upload rate of 3G is 5 Mbps and of 4G is 500 Mbps. The peak download rate is 100 Mbps for 3G and 1 Gbps for 4G. The switching technique for 3G is packet switching and for 4G is packet switching and message switching.

The network architecture for 3G is wide area cell based and for 4G is an integration of wide area and wireless LAN.  The services and applications in 3G are EDGE, UMTS, CDMA 2000 and in 4G are Wimax 2 and LTE Advance. Error correction is done via turbo codes in 3G and via concatenated codes in 4G. The frequency band for 3G is 1.8 – 2.5 GHz and for 4G is 2 – 8 GHz.


3G is available all over the United States whereas 4G is available only in some areas. It is difficult to say when 4G will become universally available. There is much marketing of 4G phones going on but there is not enough availability of 4G services.


Speed is one area of difference between the two technologies 3G and 4G. 4G is said to be about 10 times as fast as 3G. The speed of data exchange and retrieval through the broadband service determines the speed of 3G or 4G. 4G is linked to quicker internet downloads and fast streaming of movies and television services.

Battery Life

The battery life depends on number of applications run as well as amount of data downloaded and viewed. 4G is better for multimedia applications and high speed data downloads therefore it will consume more battery life than 3G.


Although 3G is moderately priced, 4G is expensive. Heavy data plans are bundled with 4G services as companies estimate more downloads will be done with these. If you are not prepared for the high cost of 4G it could disrupt your finances.

Application and Design Principles

2G and 3G were made for voice communication. 4G on the other hand is made for data transmission. So if you are using a mobile phone with 4G you get faster access to data. Streaming video works great with 4G, for example. High data transmission needs like multi player online games and video conferencing work great with 4G.

The Past and The Future

3G is quickly becoming the past and the future – 4G, is here. They say 4G will reduce the call dropping. It is also touted to quench the demand for faster data swapping. You should invest in 4G if your area has been set up for this technology. It is important to match your needs to the investment you make. As the future becomes the present it will be natural to transition to 4G.

Article Courtesy: CLEAR-4g.com

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