5G vs 4G vs 3G – What Is the Difference Between 5G, 4G, AND 3G?

Have you been hearing a lot about 5G, 4G or 3G mobile networks in recent times? Are you confused about what the mobile generations are and why do they have such kinds of numberings? Then this post will clear all the air about the 5G Vs 4G Vs 3G.

First thing first, before differentiating between these, you should know what “G” is in 5G, 4G and 3G. So, “G” stands for generation. Just like the growth and development of the human generation, they progress their generation, positively, including better features, connectivity, speed, etc. with every new generation. And this 5G is the most recent and the newest one, lately. And, for cellular network technology, it will be proved better as compared to the previous ones since it must be expanded to allow different mobile networks to use it.

To understand 5G Vs 4G Vs 3G, you need to focus upon these generations, so let us delve into those mobile network generations right away-

Introduction of Mobile Network Generations 

The first generation, 1G, came into existence in the 1980s. It was just associated with analog service and voice-only. The maximum speed which was acquired in 1G was 2.4kbps.

Mobile Network technology

Then, came 2G, it was introduced in Finland in the year 1991. This allowed cell phones to be in a digital world. It allowed us to call and text via messages. Also, MMS and picture messaging came into existence. And, the speed of this cellular network was about 50kbps- still better than the first generation. And it lacks behind the other generation which was about to come.

In 1998, a new generation 3G was launched. -Perhaps much better than both the previous generation. It had mobile internet connectivity. Yes, that internet connection which is a need these days. It had some better facilities like video calling also. Although it was about an internet connection, it was prolonged. While using it on moving vehicles, it gave a speed of 384kbps. Meanwhile, in non-moving and stable devices, it showed up to 3mbps.

Finally, in the late 2000s, 4G was the standard cellular network. Comparing it to 3G, it was 500 times better than that generation. Be it the speed, quality, facilities, everything was excellent. Even video conferencing and connection with high-definition mobile TV, it had everything.

Same as 3G, the speed mattered while moving in a vehicle and when the device was stationary. If a person were moving in his/her car, he would get a speed of 10mbps. At the same time, if a person or device is stable, it will go around 100s of Mbps. Therefore, their speed was around 10 to 100s of Mbps depending upon the condition of the device.

As we know, the newest i.e. 5G is the best one now. Same works for these generations. Since nowadays more people are introduced to mobile internet, the craze is increased as well. Therefore, the internet has expanded. And it’s around 24 billion devices which will use a mobile internet connection till 2024. Then, the next-generation 5G will come into existence — the fastest of all.

Let us now deep down into the world of 3G, 4G and 5 G to understand their key features in more detailed fashion-

5G v/s 4G v/s 3G

Latency and the peak capacity will be the major difference between these generations. The speed and capacity of 5G will be around Gbps, and that of 4G is only Mbps. And when talking about latency, it sends and receives information really in lesser time. The time consumed is reduced, which makes 5G a better option than 4G and 3G. So it’s an important point to know the result of 5G v/s 4G v/s 3G.


And it’s not only restricted to messages or any pictures sending and receiving. One can even upload and download things easily and in lesser time. Also, bandwidth size has a big difference in them. Let us compare these on different grounds altogether-


It’s difficult for a user to switch over from one network to another. But it is somewhat more difficult for the company to create such a network or application which will be enormous. Also, there is a pressure of doing better and providing better quality than before.

Be it switching from 2G to 3G or 3G to 4G. Everything required change — installation, and deletion of some network and applications. But there isn’t the same case with 5G.

It doesn’t replace 4G but gets merged with it. All the previous generations were replaced by the recent. But in 5G, it’s not like that and the reason is that 5G enhances and builds upon 4G LTE networks.

This is related to combining. The implementation of 5G is to be done as a combination of 5G and 4G both. This certainly means that the connection management and initial call for 5G devices will be handled by the 4G network, and, further switched to 5G after this initial connection.

Also, in early 5G phones, the data upload will be in 4G LTE format. And it will have the same speed as that of 4G. Through this, we can also conclude that LTE Advanced is undoubtedly the advanced version of 4G.

Therefore, we can say that the deployment of 5G is helping it to reach an advanced level of 4G. It enhances and encourages the upgrading of 4G. Also, this can be considered as the 5G evolution or 5Ge. It can also be considered as the latest iteration of the previous generation, which is 4G and not an official 5G standard network.


No one wants to wait. We, humans, aren’t that patient with internet access as we are in our lives, even if we are playing any game, or watching movies, downloading applications or anything.

Internet speed is one this which decides the fate of the network. All other elements are dependent on internet speed. This decides the deployment, latency, and whether it is up to the mark or not.

Judging the speed specifically, we can say that 5G has the best speed amongst all. The 2nd generation had an average speed of 0.1 Mbps with 0.3 Mbps at the top. With a bit of increment, 3G has average speed of 8 Mbps, and 42 Mbps as maximum. The advanced level of 4G LTE has a maximum speed of 1 Gbps, and the average is 10-30 Mbps. Finally, 5G arrived, and its top speed is around 10 Gbps. Its average speed is yet to be discovered, definitely after it’s in use.

Comparing all the generations, 5G v/s 4G v/s 3G, the recent one and 4G have a tougher fight, since 4G won’t be abandoned as 5G is not about replacement. However, 5G is still better than the most advanced level of 4G. It can be directly converted to 5G as it continues to roll out. 4G is enhancing and getting advanced, so is its speed.

Speed determines the download and uploads time. It determines the speed of sending and receiving a text. If two people are texting and the one uses 5G and the other one has 3G, then it impossible to have a consistent conversation because of speed.

The former will send texts faster. And later one will receive it after some time and therefore, send it after some time. Also, the download time will be more of those who have 2G and 3G.

A person using 2G will take 30-45 minutes to download anything. 3G will download the same thing in 45 seconds-1 minute. 4G will take lesser time than both, 5-8 seconds. And, the 5G network will require less than 1 second. Therefore, this determines the quality of the internet.


Latency can be referred to as concealment. Although whenever internet connections are talked about, latency isn’t the topic. Speed and other aspects are prioritized, but latency is crucial. For concluding the performance is network latency is essential. The quantity of time is taken between your request to a server for data and its return.

In simpler words, when you click on something on a website and the time they take to open it. Thus is what latency us all about. So you must be able to conclude that when the lag is less, it works more effectively. For online gamers, it is crucial to have a small latency.

To gun down their opponents or to take the next step, they need quick triggers. And this can only be possible if there is a small latency. And when we talk about TV shows, people prefer downloading and then viewing it. For them, the internet speed matters because they can view it offline without any buffering.

While in 3G, one had to wait for several seconds, sometimes several minutes. It was because they had a substantial latency. The length of time taken between a click and its response was way more than it is now. It has improved with every recent generation. The decrease in latency has invariably proved to be better. It has a significant impact on getting the result in lesser time.

In 4G, the speed got better and latency lesser than that in 3G and with its advanced LTE feature, it got better. As the internet speed has increased, the latency is decreased. While checking on 5G v/s 4G v/s 5G we can now add another factor for its approval.

Let’s discuss it more openly, for 2G, the latency was about 300-1000 milliseconds, and for 3G, it was 100-500 milliseconds. It gets better when 4G came into existence; it was 50-100 milliseconds. Finally, the new 5G network has the smallest latency of 1-10 milliseconds. And we are eager to know what comes next.


The satisfaction of customers is what every company prioritizes- more the speed, the more the coverage in an area. With a higher network comes higher capacity. That means it supports a more significant number of users at any given time. For higher data rates, it will allow multimedia applications to work more efficiently.

For people using 3G, it covers signals for 60-10 and gets fast and reliable service. On the other hand, for 4G towers, 300-400 people can be covered. Same as the other factors, the radio signals, its tower, and speed are changed and get better with every new generation. The new generation understands better, 4G is twice better than 3G.

Considering the bandwidth, the lower band is around 600 MHz to 1 GHz. The mid is for 3G, 4G, and 5G which constitute, 1 GHz to 6 GHz and for the High band, 6 GHz to 100 GHz which is for 5G.

The capacities of network connection are getting better and cover more area. With the speed and reliability of 5G, it connects more vehicles, homes and smart cities. 5G networks are using small cells, and not macrocells used in 4G networks.

Ultimately, we can say that the small cells will require less power and can be installed quicker. Lower frequencies are capable of penetrating obstructions and are reliable.

That is the reason 3G works in many places than 4G. Higher frequencies can be scattered quickly and are more direct. Mobile carriers will have lower frequencies. Meanwhile, those aiming for downloading and internet benefits will prefer high frequency. Therefore, 5G provides the best internet quality as it is of high frequency.

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5G Vs 4G Vs 3G Wrap Up!

This difference amongst all the generations has made us realize that the newest one is better from the previous one. In the 1st generation, it was completely different from what we are having in 5G.

One couldn’t have even thought of sending videos and having a video call without any network disturbance. But now we are going this, these generations time to time have been the game-changer. Not just the speed but also their coverage and latency has become better with every new launch if generation. The internet speed and facilities which they provide are better than what we had before. 5G is all set to be the fastest of all its predecessors. Not just two times or 200 times, but by a ton. Precisely, comparing it to 4G, we can say that 5G is set to be ten times faster than 4G LTE.

The thing which divides these more efficiently is coverage. As high frequencies and low frequencies, both are important. For mobile and calling, it is good to have low frequency, that is, 3G. And if someone is inclined towards internet connectivity, high frequency like 4G and 5G works best for them. And it’s not like it directly replaces the coming generation. It happened before, but in the case of 5G, it encourages and builds up with the most advanced generation of 4G.

The network performance gets better with generations passing on. These factors helped us understand 5G v/s 4G v/s3G. All this certainly means that the coming generation of 5G will be a massive mater stroke in the era of the internet.

What have been your key experiences with the changing generations of mobile networks? What is your first generation of the mobile network since you are using mobile phones? Share your experiences and thoughts about 3G Vs 4G Vs 5G in the comments below.

About Author

Pramod Kumar I'm Pramod Kumar Yaduvanshi, creator and editor in chief of PCMobitech. I mostly write about Computer, Smartphone, VPN, Security related articles and tips & tricks etc. Follow me on: Twitter.

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