Difference Between Gprs, Edge, 3g, Hspa, Hspa+ & 4g Lte

I’ve been privileged to be in a situation where I had to teach some guys who just started using the Android phones (mostly Tecno android smartphone) about the various network communication technologies. They had thousand and one questions to ask about the smartphone features including the difference between the several network signals (GPRS, EDGE, and 3G) that interchanges periodically in their network notification area which actually led to creating this short enlightening post.

Before advancing, it should be known that 1G, 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G, etc. refer to the different generations of wireless communication technology characterized by having a defined range of speed.

GPRS (General Packet Radio Service)

GPRS is a packet-based* wireless communication service. It is a 2G technology network that supports a download speed of up to 114Kbps. Limitation of GPRS is that GPRS data cannot be sent while a voice call is in progress.

EDGE (Enhanced Data GSM Evolution)

GPRS and EDGE are both 2G technology, but EDGE is significantly faster with a download speed of up to 384Kbps. EDGE is most-a-times called a 2.5G network as it also has some characteristics of a 3G network, but it doesn’t satisfy the specification.


Introduction of the 3G network made video calling and seamless streaming of video possible. It comes with a commendable download speed of up to 3.1Mbps.


UMTS is the same thing as 3G network in both download and upload speed. The acronym itself stands for Universal Mobile Telecommunication Service and allows a download/upload speed of between 384Kbps to 2Mbps.

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Note that for Code-Division Multiple Access (CDMA) technologies, the 3G network is referred to as Evolution Data Optimized (EvDO) which offers similar max upload speed as UMTS  for GSM data communications.

HSPA (High-Speed Packet Access)

It is based on the 3G network and an enhancement to 3G. Thus has a faster upload and download speed. Its maximum speed can scale as high as 14Mbps. HSPA is sometimes called 3.5G.

It is also important to note that both HSDPA and HSUPA belongs to the HSPA family. While HSDPA stands for High-Speed Downlink Packet Access, HSUPA means High-Speed Up-link Packet Access.

HSPA+ (Evolved High-Speed Packet Access)

HSPA+ is an evolution HSPA(HSDPA&HSUPA). It is a 4G technology that allows download at a rate of up to 168Mbps.

4G LTE (Long Term Evolution)

LTE is a 4G communication standard that supports HD video streaming, download speed as high as 299.6Mbps.


These are the most recent mobile data communication technologies that make both uploads and downloads faster than ever. You can get as much as 1GB/s with this generation of data technologies. While LTE-A stands for Long Term Evolution Advanced, WiMAX means Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access.

GPRS (114Kbps) < EGDE (368Kbps) < 3G(3.1Mbps) < HSPA (14Mbps) < HSPA+(168Mbps) < 4G/LTE/WiMAX( above 500Mbps)

*Packet-based means that data is broken into packets before being transmitted.

This is all there is to learn about mobile data communication and different generation of data network technologies. Feel free to ask us any question even if it is not directly related to this post using the reply button below.

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Obasi Miracle
Obasi Miracle is one of the brains behind 3rd Planet Techies. A webdesign afficionado and IT Support brain-box, he flourishes and revel in helping many-a-techies in their aspiration to become the best they can.


  1. Thank you so much for giving insight on mobile data communication technologies!

  2. Excellent Article!!!. Clear and concise. Thanks…

  3. I’m from Philippines I just want to know that I have a sim with hspa+ network it’s just a prepaid sim but its almost a year I quit going out for internet cafe outside because my sim that in my adroid tablet has faster data same as you are using pocket wifi. Please can you explain to me how it works like that. Thank you very much

  4. nice work you doing, appreciated. I wanna know how do I use the sim card slot on my laptop- sony vaio vgn-z56g/u. thanks

  5. My hand set model is MOTOROLA DROID RAZR XT912. it is 3G jone. How do I use Mobile data as 3G?

    • Your question is confusing Dhali?

      Do you want to set your phone to 3G only mode or want to use it to browse on the PC?

  6. Great stuff … You made short and sweet

  7. Pretty Handsome Pretty Handsome

    I have a swift 4G LTE mifi device which Ive unlocked to use other sims. I got a Glo 4G LTE sim, but I’ve noticed that anytime I browse with the Glo sim, the highest data capability it shows is HSPA+, it has never shown 4G LTE, but when I switch to the Swift sim, 4G LTE pops up. I also observed that even with the Swift 4G sim, my browsing is still not fast.

    • Is the data speed from the GLO HSPA+ satisfactory? A lot of factors comes into play when dealing with data connectivity and browsing speed. One of these is the network coverage strength in your area which seems to be your concern at the moment.

      • Pretty Handsome Pretty Handsome

        Well, I will say they both rank the same on scale of performance but my issue is that the performance is not encouraging, methinks that since it’s 4G it should be blazing. In fact, there’s no difference between their browsing speed and that of the Glo Bolt that I was previously using. What I find confusing is that the Glo sim switches between EDGE, UMTS and HSPA+ but never 4G LTE, but immediately I switch the sim to the original network, it indicates 4G LTE. The network indicator is always full.

        • The obvious explanation is that FULL 4G LTE coverage for GLO network in the area in question is non-existent. But then, the speed of HSPA+ (3.5G) is good enough considering the Nigerian factor Pretty.

          • Pretty Handsome Pretty Handsome

            Thanks so much, that sure makes sense. I was almost thinking that the device is malfunctioning. I appreciate your knowledge of ICT and how you’ve been able to proffer solutions to challenges people face on your blog. The sky is not even the limit for you.

          • Thanks for the compliments and kind wishes bro. Do have a productive week ahead.

  8. Its about my micro Sd… i put password on using my nokia asha 310. The worst thing is my phone is now broken.
    When l put it on my samsung phone.. it cannot read the micro Sd.. any help please.. thanks

    • What’s the problem of the Nokia asha 310 device?

    PLEASE IF YOU CAN DO THAT FOR ME CONTACT ME ON [email protected] with others details I may need to know

    • Do you mean to ask how to get google adsense approval? how long have you had the website in question?

  10. Sir,
    I am thinking to buy LENOVO VIBE P1M
    Please would you tell me about this mobiles 4G and other communication specification

    • LENOVO VIBE P1M is a mid-range device Sanju. It has full support for 4G LTE, 3G WCDMA and other popular communication bands. It’s a good fit for good data/voice communication.

  11. Great post sir
    Thanks for this

  12. I get an h+ signal on all my devices except one. I only access edge ont that one. What can I do if anything to have this device up to speed with the network capability.

    • Hi Donald,
      What’s the name and model of the device in question?

    • The phone supports 4G LTE technology as well as other good features expected of a modern smartphone.

  13. well done, nice summary.
    i am trying to find a gsm vs hspa+ coverage map for north america; not by carrier, just by wireless data standard. do you by chance have one? i think hspa+ is much better but I am not sure. it would be best if i could not just have a map but something that is comparable data, like coverage by population or square km, etc… just thought i would try here. cheers, -mm

    • Thanks for dropping by MM,

      I’ll notify you as soon as such data is available to us. Do have a great week ahead.

  14. hello nice post
    i was wondering if there is a way to configure my mini wifi router 3G.

    • What network SIM card do you have on it at the moment Billy?

  15. My inability to access the Web has been on for one week now. My hotspot was refusing to connect to my pc or my ipad. But surprisingly, after writing about it here (see above), I decided to switch off all my gadgets and switch them back on just to refresh them before I input the the dns values you gave, and SURPRISINGLY everything is now working fine. I’m actually surprised because I’ve tried everything since this one week, and hadn’t even input the values you gave. However thanks, at least if it happens again, I’ll input the values and get back here to comment.
    However, I have another complaint. My pc is now so slow. How do I make it run faster? I’ve used the Disc Defragmenter and Disk Cleanup many times over but it’s not helping. I see that I still have 32GB free of 150GB of space. Few years back, I increased my RAM to 2.5GB and my system is 32bit OS. So what’s wrong with it? How can I make it run faster, please. Thanks

    • Try out the trial version of the tool reviewed here and update me with the improvement of your PC response thereafter.

  16. I usually use my phone’s personal hotspot to connect my pc to the Internet. I’ve been doing that for more than 5years. But I now see that my pc connects to the hotspot, but can’t browse bcuz it doesn’t connect to the Internet. I’ve tried many things with help from my phone company and friends, but nothing is working. How do I rectify this?

    • Connect your PC to the hotspot and follow after this guide.

      1. Go to network settings ==> Network & Internet 2. click on change adapter options (as seen at https://goo.gl/pNtShL) 3. right-click on the active connection (mostly your active wi-fi connection) and select properties 4. Click on internet protocol version (TCP/IPv4) 5. click on properties and change the dns values to what is found at https://goo.gl/9xSBfo. 6. Click on validate settings…. Your data access should rock again IyKe.

      Do let me know if this works or you have a hard time implementing it.

  17. I want video calling for 4g edge and umts/hspa without thurd party software it is possible or not

  18. Thanks for this nice and decent summary … refreshed my mind with the most relevant info :) :)

    • You are welcome Mariam, do enjoy the rest of the day.

    • H+ is a signal used by telecom service providers to denote that the device is connected to a HSPA+ mode. OR means that there’s a HSPA+ coverage in your area.

    • Your are welcome Samuel. I’m glad you like it

  19. Such a great post. Keep it up.

  20. Kistlak Rajapaksha Kistlak Rajapaksha

    This is a Great Post !! :D

  21. My device is LeTV x600 and is 4G. When I connected in my operator (WIND GREECE) the device signal is HSPA+ and not 4G. What is that ??????? It’s correct this?

    • 3ptechies Default 3ptechies Default

      The speed and technology is still within an acceptable range. HSPA+ is referred to as 4G (3.75G) by most users.

  22. i have a data collector the output is via a r-gm862-q4 this is 2g/gprs i need this to work in the USA and 2g has been shut off over there is there any way to pick up the rf output and retransmit as 4g/lte

    • Do you still need a help with this?

      I found some 2g to 4g converting apps but don’t know if they are going to be of any help to you on this.

      You can Google extensively with the keyword and see if any of them helps….

  23. is it possible to transmit a 2g output in 4g


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