201: Part 4
When we left our story, we had a lot more people making mobile phone calls on their 2G network – a big improvement from 1G. Thanks to 2G innovations, we finally had both the coverage and capacity we needed for a great voice experience.
But, as we said earlier, people were already looking ahead to what was next. More people had computers and broadband internet access at home and work. They wanted it on their phones too…but this couldn’t really be possible…right?
With 2G, customers could use their phones for texts and emails as well as calls…but as mobile phones became “smarter”, basically becoming mobile computers capable of doing much more, people quickly needed more. “Apps” were born, and people wanted richer content and faster data rates. 3G was the breakthrough that really brought the internet to mobile communications. How?
Remember, 2G used all the frequencies available in our allocated spectrum, or as in our analogy, land, to deliver voice packages. But each customer could only receive relatively small packages.
This worked great for voice, but games, MP3s, videos…they all come in bursts. Customers need bigger packages delivered at times, depending on what they’re doing. Small packages were fine for phone calls and texts, but it was too inefficient for sending large media files or searching the web.
3G changed that. With the addition of a radio channel, or delivery truck, optimized for data. Suddenly, one person could receive a very large data package, while mobile phone calls continued to operate on the other channel. Large packages meant a lot more information could be transmitted at one time to the same person.
3G technologies also introduced advanced techniques to allow more information to fit in the same package. So not only could customers get larger packages when they needed them, but each package could have more in it, and mobile broadband was born. The computing industry was revolutionized again.
Now remember, in mobile communications, the radio wave delivers voice and data services from the towers to your customer’s mobile devices.
With 3G, the wave itself wasn’t moving any faster, but the amount of information someone could get at any given time grew dramatically. Amazing progress!
Today, carriers have deployed 3G networks everywhere, providing mobile broadband services and coverage for billions of users worldwide.
And if you think we got better at packing data with 3G, wait until you meet the fourth generation.
But we’ll cover 4G LTE, and the amazing experiences it provides, in the next chapter.
For now, let’s review.
1G invented mobile, setting the foundation to mobile communications by establishing coverage and mobility.
2G used digital technologies to deliver the capacity needed to support more calls in more places.
3G made the system efficient for data, and introduced mobile broadband data services.
Now you know everything you need to about the early days of mobile technology, and how we got from there to here.
Next up, we’re going to dive into 4G LTE, and show you how it complements a constantly evolving 3G network, boosting data capacity so carriers can support richer content and more connections, with reliable coverage virtually everywhere.