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Experts: Europe may be first region to see 3G vanish 

Avner Motaev writes about changes to mobile networks in Europe.

GSMA Intelligence, the research wing of mobile operator association GSMA, has suggested that Europe may be the first region to see 3G networks disappear as 2G/4G twinnings become more likely.

The differences

Avner Motaev
What are the differences between mobile generations?

Before analysing the news, I thought it would be a good idea to examine the differences between 2, 3 and 4G.

Networks in the 2G (‘G’ stands for generation) range allow what are now considered to be the ‘basics’ of mobile communications to exist. These include features such as SMS messaging, MMS messaging and digitally-encrypted calls.

Networks with 3G technology include mobile internet, video calls and more interactive methods of communication – this form of technology has been overshadowed by the increasingly strong 4G network, which has made serious gains in regards to use since its rise to popularity in 2008.

Concurrently, 4G networks are now among the most popular in Europe. As well as possessing the benefits of 3G technology, 4G networks also contain features such as cloud computing and greater integration with other devices, such as televisions and desktop computers.

3G disappearing

A survey carried out among operators has also pointed towards 3G’s decline – 50% said 3G would disappear before 2G.

Why is this? Perhaps it is due to the fact that 2G technology has vital components of telephone technology (SMS, calls), whereas many of 3G’s features aren’t exclusive to it and are often bettered by 4G technology (internet, etc.)

It seems that 3G is becoming more obsolete as 4G and 5G continue to grow – the technology doesn’t have the key ‘M2M’ (machine to machine) coverage cited by survey respondents as the reason for 2G’s survival. These features, according to GSMA, will ensure 2G’s maintenance in the future.


Avner Motaev is the director of Mobile2Business, a provider of telecommunications solutions to businesses in Austria. Mobile2Business is an official business partner of T-Mobile

Published in Avner Motaev Mobile technology