What do the symbols 3G , H , H + , 4G , G, and E mean on my smartphone ?

If you have a smartphone and use it to make calls or connect to the Internet, it is certain that an icon that shows the level of coverage appears in the notification bar. Beside this a letter appears. These letters could be up to six different ones, depending on the phone features: 4G, H + , H , 3G , E and G.

What do each of these letters mean ?

Chances are that you  have noticed that with some letters the Internet connection is slower. Actually, only those letters indicate the type of connection you are using with your mobile phone. Some of these mobile connections are of higher standard, while others are not. Some allow faster data transfers, and some consume less battery. What type of network is for each one of these letters ?


1 – G from GPRS: This one appears on all smartphones. There is not a single smartphone that is not compatible with the GPRS networks. Its initials come from General Packet Radio Service. It is an extension, and therefore includes the global system for mobile communications, which is what we usually use to make calls. This network is the most widespread throughout the world. When we lose high-speed coverage, chances are that we continue with GPRS coverage. It allows transfer rates of 56 to 144 Kbps. It’s a very slow network, and most likely is not worth to surf the internet. Even could be too slow to send and receive messages in WhatsApp, for example, even if we have patience. It is best to make only use it for calls, because it is the most widespread, and almost always has coverage. If we’re home, and we never have coverage, select only 2G networks such as GPRS as a solution.

2 – E from EDGE 2.5G: Its initials come from Enhanced Data rates for GSM of Evolution. In theory, this connection is already considered like 3G, but the truth is that its maximum speed is 348 kbps, which still seems pretty slow. We will have trouble navigating the web, watch a video or download a large file is unthinkable, but in principle we could talk on WhatsApp with a relatively high facility and send emails that contain only text. It is the letter that usually appears when believe or internet speed is slow when have have coverage. In reality however we actually have no coverage of high-speed networks, but downgraded to EDGE.

3 – 3G or UMTS: Their abbreviations are Universal Mobile Telecommunications System, although more usually known as 3G. However, in some smartphones, instead of 3G, we see a letter U instead, and that is because of UMTS, although it is the same. It is considered a third generation mobile system. It is a standard created to transmit voice and data, so that we can make phone calls to these networks, and use an Internet browser. Its speed reaches up to 2 Mbps. However the biggest problem is that this is not as widespread as with a GPRS network, which makes relying solely on 3G to make a call may not be best alternative.

4 – H from HSDPA: Its initials come from High Speed ??Downlink Packet Access. is based on UMTS, but the truth is that it includes a new shared downlink feature that achieves download speeds of 14 Mbps With this speed we can watch videos without any problems. And download large files or even applications without the need to connect to a WiFi network and high speed broadband.

5 – H + HSUPA or HSPA: Its initials are from High Speed ??Uplink Packet Access. Actually, is similar to the previous system, but not only is the download speed improved, but also the rate in transfer speed is improved, so that it can reach speeds of 22 Mbps upstream and 84 Mbps downstream. The difference with the previous system is that having a faster upload, not only allows us to download video, but also send, so that sets a standard to make IP calls, or even high quality video calls.

6 – 4G or LTE : The fourth generation of mobile connections. Its presence around  the world is not very expanded, although operators insist on saying it is. Theoretical connection speeds would achieve the 50 Mbps upstream and 100 Mbps downstream speeds that many do not even exist in most standard homes.

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