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  • 05 May, 2021

  • 18 Min Read

Mobile Phone Technologies

Mobile Phone Technologies

1G Technology

  • The development of 1G mobile phones took place in the late 1970s.
  • The 1G mobile devices sent only the “analogue voice information” via amplitude modulation (AM), which varies the amplitude of the carrier signal, and frequency modulation (FM), which changes the Frequency of the career signal.
  • In electronics, the analog signal devices were followed by Analog to Digital convertors.
  • The most important 1G system were
  1. Advanced Mobile Phone System (AMPS)
  2. Nordic Mobile Telephone (NMT)
  3. Total Access Telephone System (TACS).
  • The devices of the 1G included the Cordless Phone, Paging Systems, Private Mobile Radio, Some primitive mobile systems as mentioned above.

2G Technology

  • The 2G phase began in the 1990s and much of this technology is still in use. The 2G cell phone features digital voice encoding.
  • Examples include CDMA and GSM.


  • GSM: GSM is a TDMA based wireless network technology which make use of a SIM card to identify the user's account. In India GSM networks operate on the 900MHz and 1800MHz frequency bands.
  • CDMA: Code-Division Multiple Access, a digital cellular technology that uses spread-spectrum techniques. Unlike competing systems, such as GSM, that use TDMA, CDMA does not assign a specific frequency to each user. Instead, every channel uses the full available spectrum. Individual conversations are encoded with a pseudo-random digital sequence.
  • Bandwidth: Determines the rate at which information can be transmitted across that a medium. The rates are measured in bits (bps), kilobits (kbps), megabits (Mbps), or gigabits per second (Gbps).
  • EDGE (Enhanced Data Rates for GMS Evolution): EDGE (Enhanced Data GSM Environment), a faster version of the Global System for Mobile (GSM) wireless service, is designed to deliver data at rates up to 384 Kbps and enable the delivery of multimedia and other broadband applications to mobile phone and computer users.
  • GPRS (General Packet Radio Service): GPRS is a packet-based wireless communication service that promises data rates from 56 up to 114 Kbps and continuous connection to the Internet for mobile phone and computer users. The higher data rates will allow users to take part in video conferences and interact with multimedia Web sites and similar applications using mobile handheld devices as well as notebook computers.
  • Wideband CDMA is a third-generation (3G) wireless standard which allows use of both voice and data and offers data speeds of up to 384 Kbps. WCDMA is also called UMTS and the two terms have become interchangeable.
  • LTE (Long Term Evolution): LTE is the next-step of the evolution of UMTS (3G) and HSDPA (3.5G). It's the only wireless network technology that's correctly called 4G.
  • Wi-Fi is a mechanism for wirelessly connecting electronic devices. A device such as a personal computer, video game console, smart phone, or digital audio player, when enabled with Wi-Fi, can connect to the Internet via a wireless network access point. It uses radio frequency (RF) technology
  • WiBro: WiBro (Wireless Broadband) communication technique uses radio waves (frequency of 2.3 GHz) and allows a maximum theoretical speed of 30 megabits per second over a range between 1 and 5 kilometers.

  • Since its inception, 2G technologies have steadily improved, with increased bandwidth, packet routing, and the introduction of multimedia.
  • GSM is most popular standard for mobile telephony systems spread in more than 200 countries / territories. GSM is a cellular network, which means that mobile phones connect to it by searching for cells in the immediate vicinity.
  • The worldwide presence of GSM means that subscribers can use their phones throughout the world, enabled by international roaming arrangements between mobile network operators.
  • GSM networks operate in a number of different carrier frequency ranges and most 2G GSM networks operate in the 900 MHz or 1800 MHz bands.
  • GSM provides the voice and limited data services and uses the digital modulation for improved audio quality. So this was the beginning of the SMS. The rate was 10 Kbps/user.

2.5G Technology

  • The GPS was succeeded with GPRS i.e. General Packet Radio Service. This is called 2.5G. This enhanced the data transmission capacity of the GSM and added the packet switched capabilities to the existing mobile telephony.
  • So now the systems were able to send emails and Graphics rich data as a higher speed. 2.5 G or GPRS set the preparatory stage for the 3G
  • Applications in 2.5 G are : Digital voice and limited data

3G Technology

  • 3G, 4G and 5 G are the generic names for a set of mobile technologies. These use a host of high-tech infrastructure networks, handsets, base stations, switches and other equipment to allow mobile phones to offer broadband wireless Internet access, data, video, live TV and CD-quality music services.
  • The 3G wireless networks use technologies such as
  1. General Packet Radio Service (GPRS);
  2. Enhanced Data Rates for Global Evolution (EDGE);
  3. UMTS Wideband CDMA (WCDMA) and
  4. High Speed Downlink Packet Access.
  • The 3G technology is capable of transferring data at theoretical top speed of just 7.2Mbps.

4G Technology

  • 4G is the short term for fourth-generation; it is a wireless data transmission network.
  • The data transfer speeds here are four time that of 3G making IPTV and interactive gaming a reality on mobile phones.
  • All this will make the mobile phone much like a digital Swiss Knife: a single wireless device for all our needs.
  • The technology uses Carriers that use orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) instead of time division multiple access (TDMA) or code division multiple access (CDMA).

5G Technology

India’s National Digital Communications Policy 2018

  • It highlights the importance of 5G when it states that the convergence of a cluster of revolutionary technologies including 5G, the cloud, Internet of Things (IoT) and data analytics, along with a growing start-up community, promise to accelerate and deepen its digital engagement, opening up a new horizon of opportunities.
  • It aims to reach 100% teledensity, high-speed internet highways and delivery of citizen-centric services electronically.

  • Millimeter wave spectrum: The 5G networks will operate in the millimeter wave spectrum (30-300 GHz) which have the advantage of sending large amounts of data at very high speeds because the frequency is so high, it experiences little interference from surrounding signals.
  • Upgraded LTE: 5G is the latest upgrade in the long-term evolution (LTE) mobile broadband networks.
  • Internet speed: In the high-band spectrum of 5G, internet speeds have been tested to be as high as 20 Gbps (gigabits per second) as compared to the maximum internet data speed in 4G recorded at 1 Gbps.
  • 5G network speeds should have a peak data rate of 20 Gb/s for the downlink and 10 Gb/s for the uplink.
  • Bands in 5G: 5G mainly work in 3 bands, namely low, mid and high frequency spectrum — all of which have their own uses as well as limitations.
  • Low band spectrum: It has shown great promise in terms of coverage and speed of internet and data exchange however the maximum speed is limited to 100 Mbps (Megabits per second).
  • Mid-band spectrum: It offers higher speeds compared to the low band, but has limitations in terms of coverage area and penetration of signals.
  • High-band spectrum: It has the highest speed of all the three bands, but has extremely limited coverage and signal penetration strength.
  • Applications: High-Speed mobile network, Entertainment and multimedia, Internet of Things, Smart cities, Smart farming, Telemedicine services, Controlling of critical infrastructure and vehicles and Industrial applications.

Steering Committee on 5G

  • The committee was set up in September 2017 and submitted its report on August 24, 2018, under the chairmanship of AJ Paulraj to suggest road map for 5G adoption.
  • It gave wide-ranging recommendations to Department of Telecommunication for areas like spectrum policy, regulatory policy, standards and education.
  • It has asked for setting up a Standing Committee with five-year term to advice on building Spectrum Technology Infrastructure.
  • It has proposed promulgation of key norms on regulatory matters by March 2019 in order to facilitate early deployment of 5G technology and noted that 5G technologies will start entering service globally beginning 2019 and advance to full range of services by 2024.
  • It recommended deployment classification of 5G into three phases based on technologies and expects the economic impact of 5G to be over $1 trillion by 2035.
  • It said that the early adoption of 5G will make equipment needed for 5G rollout more expensive but early adoption will fast-track India’s embrace of 5G’s benefits.
  • The committee pointed out that even after entry of 5G, the earlier generation mobile technologies will continue to remain in use for almost 10 more years.

What is in the news?

  • The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) gave permission to Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) to conduct trials for the use and application of 5G technology.
  • This formally leaves out Chinese companies like Huawei and ZTE from the 5G race in India.
  • The applicant TSPs include Bharti Airtel Ltd., Reliance JioInfocomm Ltd., Vodafone Idea Ltd. and MTNL. These TSPs have tied up with original equipment manufacturers and technology providers, which are Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung and C-DOT.
  • In addition, Reliance JioInfocomm Ltd. will also be conducting trials using its own indigenous technology.
  • The duration of the trials is for six months, which includes a time period of two months for the procurement and setting up of the equipment.
  • “The permissions have been given by DoT as per the priorities and technology partners identified by the TSPs themselves,” it stated.
  • Each TSP will have to conduct trials in rural and semi-urban settings also, in addition to urban settings, so that the benefit of 5G technology proliferates across the country and is not confined to the urban areas, the statement said.

Source: TH

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