Did you know what GPRS, E, H , H+ , 3G , 4G really meant ?

There are times we have come across these terms around mobile networks in India  – GPRS, E, H, H+, 3G, 4G. Yeah and one fine day a kid comes to you and asks – “What are these exactly ?” and you may reply – “Data connection icons” or “It’s the symbol of internet connection”. Lol, it’s high time you know what these exactly mean. Infact, I had no intention of writing this, but it’s worth to know this. Hey, come on, those stuffs are kind of part of your life and you deserve to know about them better, right ?


At the top of the screen of your phone, or more specifically in the notification area, you may have seen certain icons. These icons are the ones through which the user has a way of knowing immediately, certain info like – the active ringtone profile of phone, phone reception and a bunch of other stuff. Now, among those you may have seen the icon that defines the type of internet connection , WiFi or mobile data . This data connection icon, depending on the phone model and the area in which you are currently located (coverage) may appear in varied styles, thanks to these styles, you can figure out how fast you can theoretically browse and / or exploit the Internet . With this in mind, let’s see the meaning and performance of the individual data connection icons that are displayed in the notification area of your cell phone , specifically network mode : GPRS, E , H , H + , 3G , 4G .


What does G or g or GPRS in your cell phone mean and what is the performance of it ?

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When the data connection icon in the notification area of the phone shows the letter ” G “, it means that you are using the GPRS data connection, which is of course slow. So this Mr.G is the less powerful of all the terms we will talk about today, with theoretical speeds of up to 114 Kbps download and 20 Kbps upload. Consequently, surfing the internet or streaming videos online like from youtube might be near to impossible. However, the GPRS connection should be enough to send and receive messages in WhatsApp and the light weight Facebook Messenger.

What does E or EDGE in your cell phone mean and what is the performance of it ?

When that tiny E or the EDGE symbol comes up in the notification area representing the data connection, it simply means that you are using the EDGE connection. Hey, the happy news is that it’s better than the GPRS. Now coming to the performance part, theoretically it has a maximum download speed of 384 Kbps and an upload speed of 60 Kbps.

What does 3G in your cell phone mean and what is the performance of it ?

When the icon 3G appears in the notification area then it means that you are using the data connection of the third-generation (with standard UMTS, W-CDMA, EV-DO, HSPA). The 3G is currently the type of mobile data connection more widespread in urban areas and provides significantly higher performance (depending on the standard) as compared to the previous two. More specifically its theoretical maximum speed in downloading can go from a minimum of 384Kbps (under the UMTS standard) to a maximum of 7.2Mbps (under standard HSPA 7.2); while the upload speed can vary from a minimum of 64Kbps (UMTS) to a maximum of 2 Mbps (HSPA 7.2).

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What does H or 3G+ in your cell phone mean and what is the performance of it ?

The ” H ” or ” 3G + ” are the symbols that is seen in the notification area when using the data connection HSPA (High Speed ​​Packet Access) which is the 3G evolved and more efficient. In fact, under HSPA (3.6 and 7.2), downloads can reach speeds of up to 3.6Mbps and to a maximum of 7.2Mbps in theory complemented by upload speeds from 348Kbps to 2Mbps.

What does H+ in your cell phone mean and what is the performance of it ?

If in the notification area, icon displayed is ” H+ ” then it means that you are using the data connection, HSPA version which is advanced and more powerful. In fact, this is also known as Pre-4G . Here, the performance increases with a theoretical maximum speed of 56 Mbps and 22 Mbps in download and upload respectively. The standards such as WiMAX, LTE and HSPA 14 come under the pre-4G.

What does 4G in your cell phone mean and what is the performance of it ?

when in the notification area, the icon displayed is the ” 4G “(fourth generation) then it means that you are using the best of mobile data connection that is under the standard WiMAX and LTE Advanced  which offers theoretical download speeds of up to 100 Mbps and uploads upto 60 Mbps.

Now let’s go a bit deeper about these stuff by comparing the different types of data connection used by mobile phones, tablets and smart phones.

mobile networks network mode

Comparison chart of the different data connections

I guess, it’s better that I wind up here. Yeah, the whole point was to throw some light into these terms and I hope that I have done my  job.

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Comments (3)

  1. Awesome one, Such a knowledgeable things. Now i can tell this to my friends and they’d call me a real nerd, and Am loving it. Thanks for sharing this.

    1. Thanks for that compliment Sumit. Keep visiting as we will be talking about much wider topics in future.

  2. OMG till date i thought Edge is lowest of all, but now i learnt that GPRS is the lowest and slowest of all. 🙂

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