[Updated: Aug 2014. See the chart at the end of the article]
This is real question to which I have not been able to find an answer and I am looking forward to our expert readers to chip in.
The big Question is:
What real data transfers speed does 3G technology support – i.e: what is the top data transfer speed one should get on a 3G device in ideal conditions ?
The reason I am putting this question across to readers is because, yesterday while answering to a question in Parliament on 3G & 2G , Indian minister Sachin Pilot (Minister of State in the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology) responded by saying
3G (3rd generation) mobile telecommunications is the generic name for the next generation of mobile networks that combines wireless mobile technology with high data rate transmission capabilities. The 3G network is capable of providing higher data rates upto 2 Mbps and supporting a variety of services such as high-resolution video and multi media services in addition to voice, fax and conventional data services.
Now, when minister of Communication & IT says that in parliament, it should be taken note of. And that’s where is the confusion! I have personally not gone into exact details of the speed that 3G technology offers, however, I always thought it was upto 3.6 mbps.
Then, there is another side of confusion where 3G telecom Operators talk of 3G speeds ranging from 3.6 mbps to 21 mbps on 3G network. Just to give you an example, if you visit Reliance 3G page, here is what it says
If you see the Tata Docomo plans, they also have plans which talk about 7.2 mbps and 21 mbps speeds for their 3G e-stick. The state run BSNL is more modest and advertises 3G speeds upto 3.6 mbps. In reality all of them are using the same 3G network (that’s what I think atleast)
The actual reality is a different story all together – I have tried 3 different telecom operators for their 3G services and sometimes the speed are as low as Edge speeds.
Here is my take – the speeds which these telecom operators advertise are actually the speeds that the modem supports and not the actual 3G speed that you will get – The actual data transfer speeds will always be around 2 mbps range (in ideal conditions).
In Ideal conditions, this is what 3G speeds should be.
|Generation||Standard||Radio||Maximum Theoretical Download Speed||Maximum Theoretical Upload Speed|
|3G||UMTS (WCDMA)||GSM||Up to 384 Kbps||Up to 384 Kbps|
|3G||HSPA||GSM||Upto 14.4 Mbps||Up to 5.76 Mbps|
|3G||HSPA+||GSM||Upto 42 Mbps||Up to 11.5 Mbps|
|3G||EvDO Rev. A||CDMA||Up to 3.1 Mbps||Up to 1.8 Mbps|
|3G||EvDO Rev. B||CDMA||Up to 4.9xN MbpsN: number 1.25 MHz carriers||Up to 1.8xN Mbps|
Would love to hear your comments on this !