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3G, standing for third generation, is the third generation of wireless mobile telecommunications technology.
It is the upgrade for 2G and 2.5G GPRS networks, for faster internet speed.
To meet the IMT-2000 standards, a system is required to provide peak data rates of at least 200 kbit/s (about 0.2 Mbit/s).
The first pre-commercial 3G network was launched by NTT Do Co Mo in Japan in 1998, branded as FOMA.
It was first available in May 2001 as a pre-release (test) of W-CDMA technology.
The first commercial launch of 3G was also by NTT Do Co Mo in Japan on 1 October 2001, although it was initially somewhat limited in scope; The first European pre-commercial network was an UMTS network on the Isle of Man by Manx Telecom, the operator then owned by British Telecom, and the first commercial network (also UMTS based W-CDMA) in Europe was opened for business by Telenor in December 2001 with no commercial handsets and thus no paying customers.
3G technology was the result of research and development work carried out by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) in the early 1980s.
3G specifications and standards were developed in fifteen years.