EDGE, 3G, H+, 4G, 5G: What Are All These Cellular Networks?


Are you on the fastest mobile network? The following mobile network symbols can be confusing. Here’s everything you need to know about them.

Mobile networkyour mobile may vary widely. Some countries have more developed telecommunications networks than others; Remote areas do not necessarily have the same quality of coverage as big cities. Even being indoors can have a significant effect.

Mobile Network

Your mobile phone lets you know the strength of your mobile internet coverage by using an alphanumeric code near the signal bar. If you’ve ever noticed something like E, 3G, or H in the notification bar, you’ll know what we’re talking about.

EDGE, 3G, H+, 4G, 5G: What Are All These Cellular Networks?

But what does all that code mean? Keep reading to find out; we will explain from the slowest to the fastest.


2G was first launched in 1991 and is the technology that will eventually allow data services such as SMS and MMS to be productive on mobile phones in the next decade.

This also marks the first time that radio signals have gone digital rather than analog (1G), thus providing greater spectrum efficiency and helping mobile phones with market penetration.

It only has a maximum speed of 50kB (kilobytes) per second, and in most of Europe and North America, 2G networks are currently being shut down. Despite this, it is still the network of choice in most developing countries.


G stands for General Packet Radio Service (or GPRS). It became widely used in 2000 and earned the unofficial nickname 2.5G. This is considered the first major stepping stone on the journey to develop the now ubiquitous 3G network.

It was the first “always-on” mobile internet network, but it could only transfer data up to a maximum speed of 114 kilobytes per second, which makes it the slowest connection you might encounter today.

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That speed means that while the network can support instant messaging services like WhatsApp, other more complex apps and web pages will timeout, malfunction, or in the best case, load very slowly.

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The letter E represents the Enhanced Data rate for the GSM Evolution (or EDGE) network. This network gained popularity around 2003 by offering speeds that are almost three times faster than its predecessor.

It supports a maximum speed of 217kB (kilobytes) per second, so even if it’s significantly faster than G network speeds, you’ll still have a hard time browsing modern websites or watching YouTube videos in the lowest resolution possible.

That said, there are currently 604 EDGE networks in 213 countries, making it one of the most widely used mobile internet technologies in the world. It was the last widely used network before 3G became popular, so it is often referred to as 2.75G.


3G technology is actually much older than many people realize. The first commercial network was launched in Japan in October 2001, Norway followed suit in December 2001, and much of Europe and Southeast Asia was online by early 2002. The first 3G network in the United States was Verizon Wireless and began operations in July 2002.

The 3G network is based on the Universal Mobile Telecommunication Service (UMTS) standard rather than the three predecessors mentioned above (GSM, GPRS, and EDGE).

This was the first network fast enough to support mobile internet browsing as we know it today, and thanks to its maximum speed of 384 kilobytes per second, it’s more than adequate for streaming music and even some videos.

It is perhaps the most famous of all mobile internet networks thanks to its widespread use and development of smartphones. Today you’ll find 3G technology in everything from cordless voice telephony to mobile television.

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The symbol H means you have connectivity High-Speed â € < â € . The HSPA standard is based on the same technology as 3G but replaces the UMTS 3G standard, resulting in a maximum speed of 7.2mB (Megabytes) per second.

It can comfortably handle YouTube videos, Spotify streaming, web browsing and other app usage. However, it’s not good enough to support downloading large movies or torrent files—they still take a very long time. Worldwide adoption began in 2010, and is now available in most developed countries.

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H +

H + refers to the Evolved High-Speed â € < â € There are five releases of this technology, each of which provides significantly higher download speeds than the previous version.

Release 6 brings the maximum speed to 14.4Mb (Megabytes) per second, Release 7 raises it to 21.1 Megabytes per second, Release 8 increases it further to 42.2 Megabytes per second, Release 9 brings it to 84.4 Megabytes per second seconds, before closing with Release 10 with a maximum speed of 168.8 Megabytes per second.

As you can see, technology is evolving very fast here, but it’s important to remember that people rarely see this speed during normal use. This is the fastest form of connectivity that most people can get today as global 4G network availability is still limited.


The world’s first public 4G network came online in Stockholm and Oslo in 2009, and other countries slowly joined in the following years. In the UK, the nationwide rollout took place in 2014, while in the US, many of the largest cities now have networks.

Most of these networks use the Long Term Evolution (LTE) standard, although some — including Sprint in the US — use the Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX) standard ) which is less common. In Europe and North America, most carriers discontinued WiMAX in late 2017.

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For the end user, the difference between the two is negligible. The biggest drawback of WiMAX is that not enough carriers are adopting it to make it viable, making LTE the de facto standard. Why do operators choose not to adopt WiMAX?

WiMAX networks don’t support legacy systems like 2G and 3G, while LTE is compatible and allows easier coexistence and roaming.

  • LTE has a higher maximum speed.
  • LTE uses less battery power on the handset.
  • Speed ​​on 4G can reach 1GB per second.


5G began rolling out worldwide in 2019 and is expected to serve more than 1.7 billion people by the end of 2025.

The biggest advantage of 5G over 4G is the increased bandwidth. With a potential maximum speed of 10Gbps, this is 100 times faster than the upper limit of 4G.

While we’re only seeing 5G on mobile at the moment, 5G technology is expected to start a revolution in the way we get internet in our homes. Traditional ISPs will be under serious threat as companies can offer internet to households without the need to install cables.

The downside of 5G is signal coverage. Because 5G uses high-frequency radio waves, the geographic cells that phones rely on will be smaller, requiring more towers and increasing launch costs. In total, three frequency bands will be available: Low-band (600-700MHz), mid-band (2.5-3.7GHz), and high-band 25-39GHz). Most metro areas in the US will use mid-band.

When Will 6G Be Available?!

6G is the planned successor to 5G. It will offer speeds of up to 96Gbps, that’s almost ten times faster than 5G. Or you can read the latest 6G News Here. Google and Apple join 6G development.

But don’t get too excited. Although initial trials are underway in China, South Korea and Japan, the technology is not expected to be commercially available until the 2030s.