What is Triband 3G Technology?

Jennifer Voight

Triband 3G is a cellular phone technology that allows users to switch between up to three different frequencies depending on which is available. A cellular phone using this technology also has enhanced multimedia support and use of speech and data at the same time using this triband third-generation technology.

Mobile phones and tablet devices use Triband 3G technology to connect to the Internet wirelessly.
Mobile phones and tablet devices use Triband 3G technology to connect to the Internet wirelessly.

Triband is often referred to simply as 3G. It means a mobile phone may support the use of one of three frequencies to increase roaming capabilities when traveling between countries. Triband 3G phones may offer varying frequencies so that a consumer can choose a phone depending on geographic location and traveling habits.

In the 2010s, 3G networks began to be replace with 4G networks.
In the 2010s, 3G networks began to be replace with 4G networks.

The term 3G refers to phones that evolved from second-generation, or 2G, technology, the first digital phones that emerged in the 1990s. In 2001, the first 3G phones were introduced that could transmit voice and data at the same time. Standards required that 3G phones transmit data at least 384 kbits/s, much faster than 2G phones. In practice, 3G phones transmit even faster than specifications require at up to 14 Mbits/s, making the technology suitable for smartphones that allow users to access the internet. Even as 3G technology is still developing, new phones conforming to 4G standards are emerging.

Although 2G phones were the first to have triband capability, triband 3G phones have become commonplace as consumers continue to seek out faster technologies and increased data transmission rates. Unfortunately, 3G phones required new networks and different frequencies than 2G phones. Additionally, countries developed different frequencies from each other because of historical differences. Phone manufacturers have had to produce triband 3G phones with the capability to work outside a service provider’s area.

The United States Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) frequency bands are 850, 1800, and 1900 while most of the rest of the world uses 900, 1800, and 1900. GSM phones are considered 2G and are still commonly used even as 3G technology is continuing to spread. Most of the world now uses 2100 MHz for 3G phones while 3G frequencies in the United States vary between service providers.

This presents a problem for the person traveling between nations, who will incur roaming charges when the frequency changes. Once a cell phone is used outside the home service area, it must switch to another service provider’s network. If a phone has the capability of switching between frequencies, roaming options increase. This makes triband 3G technology crucial for the cell phone user, especially if that consumer plans on traveling.

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Discussion Comments


Wow, I had no idea that 3G technology had been around for so long.

I live in a small town in the Midwest, and we still have only 2G access. Just recently, one of the larger towns near us received 3G connection. Now we have to worry about 4G!

With international travel and business becoming more important each year, will there come a time when there is an accepted GSM technology? It seems like this is quite a problem for travelers.


I never knew how roaming worked until now. I wasn't aware that there were different frequencies depending on where you lived in the world. I will have to remember that the next time I travel outside of the country.

It sounds like both 2G and 3G networks can support triband technology. If that is the case, what do the 2 and 3 mean before the G?

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