Difference Between 2G and 3G in India

2G vs 3G in India

Technology moves ahead making smaller and better products and it has been the same in the field of mobile phones. Starting with 1G, the country has seen the evolution of 2G and then 3G and there are talks of 4G soon arriving in India. Before moving ahead, it would be pertinent to note that G is only an acronym for generation and the real difference lies in the technologies that are adopted in wireless network. 3G rollout in India first commenced in 2008 by MTNL under the name “3G Jadoo,” there are around 2 million 3G subscribers now. The 3G deployment in India is aggressively being carried out since late last year with the conclusion of 3G spectrum auction for private operators.


One step ahead of 1G, 2G uses narrow band wireless digital network. It allows more clarity of voice than 1G which used analogue signals. Both these technologies were based upon circuit switching. 2G deals with voice calls only and allows only text messaging, also known as SMS. 2G allowed roaming facility which was not possible with 1G and having a phone with 2G; one could go abroad and still connect to folks back in the country, albeit with some limitations. All the 2G networks that include GSM, CDMA and DAMPS were launched in the country in the early 1990’s and they were the first digital cellular systems.

In between the 2nd and the 3rd generations, there was an intermediate generation called 2.5G, which show some technology upgrades from 2G. The General Packet radio Service or GPRS is not used with early 2G phones. It was a development in 2.5 G, and later EDGE technology was introduced as further development to 2.5G. The present network widespread in India is 2.5 G.


The 3G was introduced to overcome the hurdles that 2G could not cross. 3G uses both circuit and packet switching technologies and makes use of wide band wireless networks that allows more voice clarity and it looks as if the person we are talking to is sitting next to us. Packet Switching is the technology used for sending data in 3G. Interpretation of voice calls is done through Packet switching. 3G allowed unfettered global roaming. In addition to unmatched voice clarity and faster downloads such as musics, videos and games, there are some more features that can be enjoyed such as internet browsing, mobile TV, video conferencing, video calls, Multi Media Messaging (MMS), Mobile Gaming etc.

3G network is currently being deployed in selected major cities by MTNL (3G Jadoo) and Tata DoCoMo. Bharti Airtel is to launch its 3G network roll out in early 2011. 22 regions covering many of the top cities in each state have been identified as designated telecom zones to deploy 3G network. However initially it will be rolled out in top few cities only. The other operators who were successful in the May 2010 3G spectrum auction and will be deploying the 3G network countrywide are Reliance, Vodafone, Idea and Aircel. Stel also will deploy its 3G network in some parts of Orissa and Bihar.

MTNL’s  3G services are already available in Mumbai and New Delhi both in prepaid and postpaid plans. MTNL now charges half a paise per second for a local and STD voice and video call to its own network, one paise per second for calls to other networks and data charges are 1 paise per 10KB. Per SMS charges are 0.25 Rupees local, 1 Re for STD and Re 2.50 for IDD. There is an activation charge and mothly fixed charges applicable.

The 3G services are expected to attract youngsters and heavy data users in to the 3G network.

Difference between 2G and 3G

Both 2G and 3G are merely milestones in mobile technology and represent two different phases. While 2G ruled the world of mobile phones for a decade, it is the turn of 3G now that is being widely used in the country. But there are news that 4G is soon arriving in India which indicates how fast technology is moving. There are many differences between 2G and 3G, and most of them pertain to the features available to the users of mobile phones.

Difference between 2G and 3G in India

While there is only voice transfer in 2G, 3G allows for data transfer in addition to transmission of voice

• The clarity of voice in 3G is significantly more than 2G, and there are very little disturbances

• 3G is a much more secure technology than 2G

• 3G makes available many more features for mobile users such as internet, mobile TV, video calls, video conferencing, mobile gaming whereas no such features are there in 2G

• One drawback of 3G is that it is not available in all parts of the country, whereas 2G is universally available across India

• 3G services are pricier in the country than 2G. But now the MSNL has reduced its 3G tariff to attract more customers

In conclusion, it would be correct to say that 3G will bring in a new mobile culture with the advanced  features available to mobile users, however 3G is not available everywhere, it will be implemented in selected areas only. While, 2G is good enough for basic telephony services and affordable to average consumers with aplomb.