mobile data network types shows in image 3g 4g and g5
5G Technology

Mobile Network Terminologies – 5G, LTE, 4G, H+, 3G, G


Users experience a diverse range of internet speeds while using mobile internet at different locations. Such a phenomenon happens due to the connected mobile data network type change.

A symbol on your mobile status bar indicates the type of mobile data network you are connected with at that time.

Currently, there are over six mobile data networks available throughout the globe, and each network provides you with a different quality of internet speed.

Do you get confused when you see different symbols on your mobile’s signal bar, such as H+, E, G, or 4G? Do you want to know everything about different mobile network terminologies?

If so, this tutorial has everything for you.

You’ll find out:

  • Different mobile internet coverage symbols
  • Speed of every mobile data network
  • History of every mobile data network technology

Keep reading further to know everything in brief detail.

What do these network symbols mean?

Whenever you turn on mobile data, you get connected with one of the mobile data network types.

The type of available mobile data network determines the quality of downloading, uploading, and the internet experience.

Your device tells you by placing a symbol on your signal bar about the connected mobile data network.

Here are the necessary details about mobile data network types you need to know.


Before 1991, mobile service providers could only provide phone call services because they used the analog (1G) spectrum. Then, 2G was launched, provided a digital spectrum to mobile service providers, and allowed them to provide SMS and MMS service.

In the next decade, the 2G mobile data network type became widely used all over the world, and it had a maximum speed of 50 Kbps per second. Now, 2G networks have been turned off all over the US and Europe. But in developing countries, 2G is still in service.

If you see 2G on your mobile signal bar, expect only to be able to send SMS or MMS without web browsing, streaming, downloading, and uploading. Yet, you can send messages through messaging apps, such as WhatsApp, Signal, Telegram, Line, or more.

Does your mobile data bundle end too soon? If yes, your installed apps are using background data. Find everything about background data and how to turn it off here.


Your device shows the symbol “G” on the signal bar when you connect with the GPRS mobile data network type, which is a condensed form of General Packet Radio Service. This type of mobile internet coverage became popular in early 2000, and it got adopted throughout the globe in a short time, nicknamed 2.5 G.

GPRS is the technology that further paved the way for advanced mobile network technologies, such as 3G, 4G, 5G, and more.

Soon after the launch of GPRS technology, it became famous as an “always-on” internet coverage that provides internet speed up to 114 kbps. Nowadays, you might find this speed as slowest as compared to other options in the market. But in the early days, 114 kbps speed was enough for simple browsing and instant messaging, such as WhatsApp, Line, and more.

Yet, such speed is not enough to open complex web pages that modern websites have nowadays.

Do you live in the UK? If yes, here’s a complete guide on internet speed in the UK.


Whenever you see the letter “E” on your mobile signal bar, you are connected with Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution Network, shortly as EDGE.

In 2003, EDGE mobile data network type was launched, and it became highly popular because it offered three times more speed than other options in the market.

EDGE network offers a maximum speed of 217 kbps, which is enough for simple browsing, instant messaging, and video streaming at the lowest resolutions.

Yet, the EDGE network is not sufficient for complex browsing and high-definition video streaming. But it is enough to stay connected, do mobile banking, and do similar chores that do not require intensive data.

As of this date, 604 EDGE networks are present throughout the globe. Also, EDGE is nicknamed 2.75G.

Do you want to know what is trending in mobile technology? Here is a complete guide for you in 2022.


3G technology seems to be a new introduction to mobile service providers. But it is a lot older. In fact, Japan launched 3G networks in 2001, and Europe adapted it in 2002. Also, in 2003, 3G networks were servicing customers in the United States and Southeast Asia.

3G networks operate on Universal Mobile Telecommunication Service (UMTS) standards, unlike previous technologies in the market, such as GSM, GPRS, and EDGE.

Right after its inception, the 3G mobile data network type allowed the user to browse faster than before and stream music as well as videos.

3G offers a maximum speed of up to 384 kbps, which is enough for complex web browsing, streaming, downloading, and uploading.

As of this date, 3G technology is present all over the globe and used to create more convenience in the lives of users, such as wireless telephone, mobile television, and many more appliances.

Your device shows a “3G” symbol on the mobile signal bar when you are connected to a 3G network.


So, you may have wondered what does “H” mean on mobile data? Whenever you see the symbol “H” on your device’s mobile signals, you get the internet through High-Speed Packet Access Connectivity (HSPA). This mobile data network type operates similarly to 3G technology. But it has advanced functionality, which is better than UMTS standards. As a result, HSPA supplies users with a maximum speed of 7.2 Mbps.

HSPA technology came into the market in 2010 and is mostly available in developed countries.

You can watch high-definition videos, browse complex websites, stream music, and upload heavy data if you connect with an HSPA network. Yet, you cannot download movies or torrents like you can on your landline internet connection.


You may have wondered what does “H+” mean on the phone? Whenever your device shows the symbol “H+” on the signal bar, you are connected with Evolved High-Speed Packet Access Network (HSPA+).

Currently, there are five different versions of HSPA+ networks throughout the globe, and every version provides a better speed than the previous version.

Here is the internet speed of different HSPA+ versions.

  • 4 Mbps on release 6
  • 1 Mbps on release 7
  • 2 Mbps on release 8
  • 4 Mbps on release 9
  • 8 Mbps on release 10

Remember, the above speed numbers are for ideal cases when there are zero obstacles between the mobile and the tower. In reality, the speed is a little lower than these numbers. However, you can do almost everything with such speed, such as watching videos, messaging, streaming, downloading, complex web browsing, uploading, and much more.


You are lucky if you see the 4G symbol on your status bar. It’s because you are connected with one of the fastest cellular data types in the world.

In 2009, 4G networks were launched for the first time in Stockholm and Oslo.

4G mobile data network type operates on Long Term Evolution (LTE) standards, and some networks also use Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX) standards. However, most mobile service operators in Europe and the US have dropped WiMAX standards after 2017.

End users cannot differentiate between LTE and WiMAX. But now, LTE is a widely used and de-facto standard for 4G networks.

If you connect with a 4G network, you can get a maximum speed of 1Gbps.


5G technology was introduced in the market in 2019, and by 2025, it is going to serve more than 1.75 billion people.

5G works on the same mobile data network type as 4G. But it provides increased bandwidth and 100 times more speed than 4G.

5G technology is a revolution in network technology. It’ll not just serve only for communication and internet consumption. But it’ll create a highly connected world where machines will be connected with each other. It means that we can do many things in real-time using 5G technology, such as manufacturing, smart home maintenance, remote surgery, remote mechanical operations, and much more.

Traditional internet service providers see 5G as a threat because it’ll eliminate the demand for cabled internet connections. But whatever they can do, 5G is the future of the internet.

What is the difference between 5G, 4G, and LTE?

Let’s compare them regarding speed.

LTE supplies a speed that is better than 3G but not equal to 4G. in fact, LTE falls in the middle of 3G and 4G.

4G technology provides a faster speed than LTE, and you can do many things because of the stable connectivity of 4G.

On the other hand, 5G is the next 4G network technology form that offers 100 times more speed than 4G, along with increased bandwidth.

Is 4G the same as LTE?

If you compare the 4G mobile data network type with LTE, there are some similarities and some differences. That’s why LTE and 4G are not the same. Here is a brief comparison.

  • 4G is faster than LTE. You can get 1Gbps per second with 4G. But LTE can offer a maximum speed of 100 Mbps.
  • LTE has wider coverage than 4G because most people throughout the globe can access it with their devices.
  • 4G has low latency than LTE.
  • 4G has a better signal strength than LTE.

Comparison of Every Mobile Internet Coverage Technology

Symbol Name Generation Download Speed
G GPRS 2G 0.1 Mb/sec
E EDGE 2,5G 0.4 Mb/sec
3G 3G 3G 2 Mb/sec
H HSPA 3.5G 7.2 Mb/sec
H+ HSPA+ 3.75G 21 Mb/sec
4G LTE/4G 4.5 G 300 Mb/sec
5G 5G 5G 1000+ Mb/sec



Now, you know everything about different mobile data network types that appear on your mobile’s status bar.

You may never see the “G’ or “E’ symbol if you are within a metropolitan area in a developed country. But if you move towards any remote or rural area, seeing “E” or “G” will tell you that you at least have connectivity that allows you instant messaging and simple web surfing.

If you need to know about international data roaming, here’s a complete guide on it. Have a fantastic day.




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