What is a 3G Card?

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  • Written By: Patrick Roland
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 08 October 2019
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A 3G card is a memory chip that is an essential component of many mobile phones and provides a variety of services. With cell phones not only making calls but also downloading video, playing music and surfing the Internet, a 3G card helps perform those tasks faster and easier. With simple installation and improved results, it is no wonder more and more phones have utilized this technology.

The term "3G" stands for Third Generation and refers to the current standards and abilities of cellular technology to transmit data. Building upon the first and second generation's technology, a 3G mobile card was first available in the early 2000s. This technology was adopted by countless service providers worldwide and by 2010 was seen as the most technologically advanced mobile phone network commercially available.

A 3G card fits within a 3G cell phone just like a battery. The card is much smaller than a cell phone battery, usually taking up about a quarter of the space. The card can be independently installed to upgrade phones that were not created with 3G technology.


The 3G card makes its biggest impact when dealing with multimedia. The 3G technology provides the proper amount of bandwidth to use a phone's video conferencing option with less lag time and less distortion than when a 3G card is not used. The memory upgrade provided by this technology allows for entire books to be downloaded and read on phones with more speed than is possible with 2G technology. This speed and memory also helps users download and listen to music in less time.

Transactions also benefit from 3G card technology on mobile phones. The 3G data card allows for buying items when using the phone's online functions. E-commerce transactions online can be completed using the phone, but also in the emerging technology of using a phone at a point of purchase to buy goods or services.

Gaming also gets a serious boost when 3G technology is used in a mobile device. Games where multiple computing systems are communicating in real time normally experience a lag, but 3G cards help eliminate this problem. Online competitions, especially multiplayer ones such as poker or role playing games such as World of Warcraft, are smoother and faster with this technology.

The phone itself also performs better using this technology. A mobile phone's address book can more than double with the addition of a 3G card's memory. The card also allows for clearer calls and better reception with its added strength.


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Post 6

@hanley79 - No offense, but it sounds like you might need to bring your concept of what a phone is into the modern day.

Maybe the very original Alexander Graham Bell device was the first thing to be called the word "phone", but we're in the middle of an age of great technology and freely-exchanged communication thanks to the Internet. Like everything else, phones have evolved beyond their roots.

Talk time is just one feature of a phone now. It's a vital one, I'm not saying it isn't, but text messaging is actually just as important to me.

And having a camera built in is, too -- I can't tell you how many times I've used just my cell

phone to take photos at birthday parties and other occasions rather than having to lug a camera around, and the photos were high enough quality to print out and frame.

I love 3G cards, too -- man, my camera, my address book and my texting are so much less laggy now that I have a phone with a 3G card built in! If talking is all that's important to you in a phone, go ahead and buy a cheaper one. I need something with more features to suit my lifestyle.

Post 5

Very interesting article. I had heard a bit about 3G cards before, but never really understood just how powerful they are. If it can help a cell phone smoothly run World of Warcraft, that's a pretty impressive chip!

As great as a 3G network card is for multimedia and gaming, I'm glad to see that it actually helps improves call quality and the running of the phone's more practical functions like the address book.

Phones are getting so fancy and so packed with extra features that they're practically little mini computers now, and with the marketing strategies about going online and playing games it sometimes feels like people have forgotten that the product they are advertising -- and shopping

for-- is a phone at heart.

Since a phone is for communication with your voice, I believe it should be superior at that before it even considers adding other features. Even text messaging isn't as important to me as just plain old talk time.

Post 4

@Hawthorne - I have to wonder if there will be a point we hit when more is not better.

I mean, is there a max limit of computers you can connect to before your 3G card (or 13G card, in this future scenario) gets confused and has too many options to to connect to? In theory, couldn't you clutter the network with too many connections and over complicate things, slowing us down again?

While we're on the subject of the future, I personally believe that these "G" series cards will be outdated before we ever get as high as number 13.

Look at camera memory cards -- we only got two or three kinds of SD memory before they made things even smaller, like xD and then micro xD. 3G cards will more likely get to about 5G and then become micro 5G or something. That's my two cents, anyway.

Post 3

@gravois - 13G? Yes please! I'll bet by that point the network will be so fast that any action will feel instant.

The card speed won't be the only reason, too -- computer networks and the Internet are all reliant on each other for growth. The Internet lets you connect with computer servers in other countries by bouncing your signals through computers all along the way to those countries.

The more computer networks, the faster the Internet can be -- and by the time we have 13G cards, we might have the technology to make cell phones into mini servers, too.

That means literally that we could have as many mini servers as we have people with the Internet would be such an intricate web of networks that any action would definitely feel instantaneous. I can't wait!

Post 2

It started with 3G. Now we are up to 4G. Surely 5G cannot be far behind. I really wonder if this naming trend will continue indefinitely. In a decade we might be using 13G cards. That will be the day.

Post 1

I think that 3G cards are one of the more helpful and exciting inventions of the last 10 years. Everyone loves smart phones and without 3G cards a lot of the most popular features would be impossible. I hope that whatever scientist came up with this brilliant new idea gets all the credit that they deserve.

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