Third generation (3G) broadband, primarily used by telecommunications providers and their customers, offers mobile Internet through specifically enabled devices. Devices that access 3G broadband have the capacity to browse websites, download content, and access other Internet services from a mobile location. At the time of its release, 3G broadband proved to be unrivaled in terms of mobile Internet technology.
3G utilizes wireless technology standards such as Enhanced Data rate for Global System for Mobile communications Evolution (GSM Edge), Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS), Code division multiple access (CDMA), and Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX) to create high speed data and voice mobile networks. Unlike its predecessor 2G, 3G presents voice and data services at high rates, coupled with the ability to use voice and data simultaneously. 3G download speeds reach as high as 14.4 Mbit/s while upload speeds reach as high as 5.8 Mbit/s. 3G standards are defined by the International Telecommunication Union as IMT 2000, with an aim to facilitate growth, increase bandwidth, and support diverse applications.
3G broadband was first released in 2001, with WiMax introduced to the telecommunications market in 2007. Upon 3G broadband's initial release, it was launched by NTT DoCoMo in Japan. Following this launch, 3G spread to other countries in Asia and Europe before reaching the United States, where the first operator was Monet Mobile Networks, followed by Verizon Wireless, which launched 3G in October 2004. Generally speaking, the 3G broadband market is still monopolized by cell phone providers, who offer the services primarily to cell phone users.
3G broadband data rates vary depending on the location and provider, but is still a significant improvement from 2G. This previous generation was noted for slow data transmission. In addition to rate improvements, security levels have been intensified in 3G broadband.
Aside from cellular phones, 3G broadband has also become accessible through much smaller devices, called dongles. Dongles connect other devices, such as computers, to mobile Internet services. 3G broadband technology has yet to reach wide spread use and coverage, and also remains surpassed by conventional Internet for bandwidth levels.