3G - CDMA2000The CDMA2000, used primarily in North America, is a standard introduced in 2002; the standard's latest release is EV-DO Rev B. CDMA2000 is the largest cellular standard in the United States, used by the massive Verizon network as well as by Sprint. CDMA2000 shares its infrastructure with the previous 2G network -- which is one of the requirements of any new cellular standard -- and is able to serve up to 14Mbits/s.
3G/4G - HSPA and HSPA+High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) is used by both AT&T and T-Mobile networks. The standard is a combination of two other technologies, providing about 14Mbits/s to the end user. HSPA has been further extended to HSPA+ and deployed by AT&T and T-Mobile, rebranded as a 4G network. While HSPA+ does meet some of the requirements for the standard, HSPA+ should be thought of as a transitional standard because future true 4G network speeds will be vastly increased in comparison. Still, HSPA+ can provide a download speed of close to 84Mbits/s.
3G/4G - LTELong-Term Evolution (LTE) is tagged with the 4G moniker, though technically the standard does not meet the 4G specifications and is better thought of as 3.9G. However, LTE has paved the way for a network upgrade to LTE Advanced, a standard to be released in 2012 that will meet and surpass all of the necessary requirements to qualify for 4G. LTE is currently being deployed by Verizon, with plans to roll out their LTE Advanced network soon thereafter.
3G/4G - WiMAXWiMAX is another transitional technology from 3G that has been branded as 4G by wireless carrier Sprint. WiMAX is being rapidly deployed due to the pooling of carrier resources since 2008. The technology is not exclusively for cellular phones, so providers are trying to bridge the gap between home Internet access and mobile data, creating a single network for both. WiMAX offers speeds of up to 128Mbits/s for mobile users, the fastest network speeds possible.
4G - LTE AdvancedLTE Advanced is the only standard that fits all of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) specifications for a true 4G network. Other network types have been using the moniker, but are actually transitional technologies. Although LTE Advanced has not yet been approved, the standard is expected to debut in early 2012 and provide up to 1Gbit/s download speeds, the minimum required speed to be considered a 4G technology. However, some test implementations of LTE Advanced have been able to produce up to 5Gbit/s download speeds. LTE, as the name suggests, is designed to continually evolve.
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