Glossary  >  2G


Noun, Abbr.

2G is a short notation for second-generation wireless and refers to a group of technology standards for cellular networks.

It was first launched commercially on the GSM (Global System for Mobile Communication) standard in Finland in 1991, after which previous wireless network systems were retroactively designated 1G.

2G was built with cell phones in mind, and for some time, it was the top choice for mobile device manufacturers. This was thanks to its global infrastructure, which was cheaper than more advanced cellular networks like 3G.

While some machine-to-machine (M2M) communication still uses 2G, the technology is over three decades old and struggles to keep up with the demands of modern cellular communication.

This is despite efforts by some telecommunications companies to upgrade 2G with General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) and Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE).

Some of 2G's key features include:

  • It offers digitally encrypted phone conversions. (2G is digital, whereas 1G is analog.)
  • It uses the radio frequency spectrum more efficiently, allowing multiple users on a single channel via multiplexing.
  • It introduced services such as SMS (Short Messaging Service) and MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service).
  • It allows for data speeds of up to 64 kbps.

Example of 2G in a sentence

“2G is responsible for the birth of texting thanks to SMS support.”

Related Terms for 2G