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Example: "Does your smartphone support 3G or 4G?"

3G refers to the third generation of cellular data standards. Cell phone companies often market mobile phones as "3G devices," but there is no single 3G standard. Rather, 3G is a broad label given to cellular technologies that support data transfer rates of 14.4 Mbps or faster.

3G networks and devices started to gain widespread use in the US around 2007. However, it took a few more years before the majority of smartphones supported 3G. As of 2012, most cell phone networks support both 3G and 4G technologies.

First Published: July 18, 2012
Last Updated: July 18, 2012

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Definition from the PC Glossary