The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) is a global wireless communications organization that collaboratively develops standards or specifications for radio, core network and service architecture. 3GPP initially developed the Global System for Mobile Communications or GSM which is the most widely used cellular technology in the world with a market share of more than 90 percent and more than 6.5 billion subscriptions.
GSM, considered a second generation (2G) technology, offers voice and circuit-switched data services and is the legacy network of the evolution to 3rd generation (3G) technologies Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS), also known as Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA).
UMTS, High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) and HSPA+ comprise the 3G technology evolution and the most widely deployed mobile broadband technology in the world. HSPA is the terminology used when both HSDPA (3GPP Release 5) and HSUPA (3GPP Release 6) technologies are deployed on a network. HSPA Plus (HSPA+ in 3GPP Release 7 and beyond) is also part of the HSPA technology and extends an operator’s investment in the network before the operators next step to 3GPP Long Term Evolution (LTE or 3GPP Release 8 and beyond).
As of mid-2014, more than 550 HSPA and HSPA+ networks were commercially available in more than 200 countries worldwide.
The fourth generation (4G) of technology for 3GPP is LTE, which has become the fastest growing mobile technology. The rapid commercial deployment of LTE reached more than 300 commercial networks in more than 100 countries as of mid-2014. 3GPP Release 10 LTE-Advanced began commercial deployment in 2014 and was expected to be available on up to 40 networks by the end of the year.
The 3GPP mobile broadband technologies not only offer the global scope and scale to be successful, they are also highly capable technologies compared to other technologies in the market. For more information see the white paper, Mobile Broadband Explosion: The 3GPP Wireless Evolution.
Throughput Performance of Different Wireless Technologies
(Blue Indicates Theoretical Peak Rates, Green Typical)
Source: Rysavy Research
3GPP continues to develop the standards and specifications for the evolution of technology with Release 13 in current working groups, and will contribute to the global development of the now-researched fifth generation (5G) technologies.
(March 2014) This summary is intended to provide a brief review of some of the key specifications and enhancements outlined in 3GPP Release 12.
(February 2014) This white paper provides an in-depth look at 3GPP Release 11 and Release 12 technology standards, including HSPA+, LTE-Advanced and Machine Type Communications.
(October 2013) This white paper outlines the enhancements of Self Organizing Network (SON) features in 3GPP Release 11 and addresses the multi-vendor aspects of SON and its deployment challenges and opportunities.
(August 2013) This white paper examines fundamental technology dynamics and analytically compares mobile technologies on measureable aspects, including data speeds for the uplink and downlink, latency, spectral efficiency and market basis.
Presentation slides for this white paper
(August 2013) This summary is intended to provide a brief review of some of the key specifications in 3GPP Release 11.
A fully interactive network map which includes information on key nodes, interfaces and protocols.