What is 3G

3G refers to third generation wireless technology for Internet access from you mobile phone. 3G networks were introduced in the U.S. in 2003. The standard itself is set and regulated by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). For the moment there has been widely used a newer standard (4G), but if you don’t need advanced features of 4G, you can order 3G Internet with your Internet service provider. This type of Internet access is mostly associated with mobile phones, but it can be used by any device that supports 3G technology.

How does 3G work

For 3G Internet you need to have a 3G compatible device (mobile phone, tablet, laptop). But even if your laptop does not support 3G you can buy a USB 3G modem called dongle. Additionally you will need to buy a subscription plan from your Internet service provider to access 3G connection. Different providers have different coverage area, different broadband pricing plans, so pay attention to those details.

The signal to your 3G receiving device comes from the same radio tower that provides voice and SMS services for your mobile phone. 3G coverage across the U.S. is not 100% but generally speaking 3G is available everywhere where mobile phones are available.

If you want to know how fast is 3G Internet, it’s quite tricky question. The speed depends not only upon the package you have bought but also upon your device, your location (for example inside premises or outside) and upon the distance to the nearest transmitting tower. You can check the actual speed offered by your Internet service provider via special online speed checkers. But generally you should note that the average 3G speed ranges at around 3Mbps. It’s not much, especially nowadays when there are lots of content-rich websites in the Internet. But it’s more than enough for all basic needs like mailing, news reading and website surfing. In some cases it even allows you to comfortably make video calling, transmitting files, watching online TV at least with smaller resolution.

However if you need some specific things done via 3G Internet on your mobile device it is always better to contact your potential Internet service provider and ask directly whether they can ensure you the required speed. It may be that for your particular case you will better have 4G Internet which is the next generation technology that will replace 3G completely with the time.

3G benefits

Like all other Internet access types 3G has its advantages and disadvantages. Comparing to wired connections (like DSL, cable Internet) it usually has considerably lower speed. But with 3G you are not bound by any wires, so 3G offers great mobility. And comparing to Wi-Fi and other wireless Internet access types 3G has much wider coverage.

  • 3G pricing plans vary, but all of them are quite affordable for home users.

  • 3G network is not available in many sparsely populated mountainous regions in the U.S. like Nevada, Idaho etc. The challenge is that it is economically not reasonable for Internet service providers to afford building mobile data networks there. This problem is mostly typical for Western regions of the U.S.