What is 3GPP- Third Generation Partnership Project ?

What is 3GPP- Third Generation Partnership Project ?
Written by prodigitalweb

What is 3GPP?

3GPP is the acronym of the 3rd Generation Partnership Project. It is a technology standard and protocol developed for mobile telecommunication by a group of organizations.

It is responsible for the development and maintenance of the following:

GSM including GPRS, Edge and 2G, 2.5G standards

Universal Mobile Telecommunication System including 3G standard, High-Speed Packet Access, and HSPA+

Wireless BroadBand standard LTE, LTE Advanced, and LTE advanced pro. Besides, it also takes care of 4G, 5G, and 5G NR standards.

Also, maintain IP Multimedia Core Network Subsystem, an architectural framework for delivering IP multimedia services.

It was established in 1998 December. Besides,  It is an association of seven regional telecommunication standards organizations. And they are the primary partners of the organization.

It focuses on the following three streams. They are:

  • It works on RAN (radio access Networks) part of mobile communication system and Radio access technology.
  • Service and System Aspects
  • Core network and terminals.

But for them, the initial goal was to develop the specification for 3G mobile communication system based on the 2G GSM which was working on those days. It worked within the scope of international national telecommunication unions’ mobile telecommunication (3G); therefore, its name is 3GPP.  Its head office is at Sophia Antipolis, Southern France. Sophia Antipolis is a technology park in Valbonne.

3GPP Operational Partner Agencies:

Its organizational partners are from America, Europe, and Asia.

  1. ARRIB- Association of Radio Industries and Businesses, Japan
  2. ATIS- Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions, United States
  3. CCSA- China Communications Standards Association, China
  4. ETSI – European Telecommunications Standards Institute, Europe
  5. TSDSI- Telecommunications Standards Development Society, India
  6. TTA- Telecommunications Technology Association, South Korea
  7. TTC -Telecommunication Technology Committee, Japan

Its Operational Market Representation Partners:

  1. 5G- ACIA
  2. 5G Automotive Association
  3. The 5G America
  4. 5G Deterministic Networking Alliance (5GDNA)
  5. The 5G Infrastructure Association
  6. 5G Media Action Group (5G-MAG)
  7. Broadband India Forum
  8. Automotive Edge Computing Consortium (AECC)
  9. Cellular Operators Association India
  10. China Society of Automotive Engineers (CSAE)
  11. CTIA
  12. EMEA Satellite Operators Association (ESOA)
  13. Global Certification Forum (GCF)
  14. Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA)
  15. GSMA
  16. IPV6 Forum
  17. Next Generation Mobile Networks (NGMN)
  18. Public Safety Communication Europe (PSCE) Forum
  19. Small Cell Forum
  20. TCCA
  21. TD Industry Alliance
  22. Wireless Broadband Alliance

Objectives of 3GPP:

Its scope was to produce technical specifications and technical reports for the 3G mobile system based on evolved GSM core networks. And, also they specify to the radio access technologies that they are supporting. They further amended their scope to include the development and maintenance of the GSM.

They have general policy and strategy to perform the following tasks:

  • Approval and maintenance of their scope
  • Maintenance of partnership projects
  • It is the decision-maker in Technical Specification Groups. And it is organizing their work, such as approval of their scope and terms of reference.
  • Managing and approving partner funding requirements
  • Funding the coordination groups both financially and with human resources within the support of the organizational partner.
  • Functions as the highest authority of appeals on procedural matters rose to them.
  • They maintain the Partnership Project Agreements.
  • Organize and approve the applications for partnership
  • Function as the highest authority in deciding against any possible dissolution.


3GPP ensures their releases should be backward and forward compatible where ever possible. It focuses on the operation of the user device is uninterrupted.

3GPP Year of Release

Version Standards Release on Functionality
Release 17
It enhances the support for non-public networks, industrial internet of things, edge computing in 5GC, traffic steering. Further, it supports switch and splitting support and network automation for 5G. In addition, it specifies 5G multicast-broadcast services, Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), satellite access in 5G, 5GC location services, Multimedia Priority Service.
Release 16
It specifies 5G phase to enhancements. It further specifies NR-based access to unlicensed Spectrum and Satellite access.
Release 15
It specifies the 5G NR, a new radio access technology (RAT) developed, and the 5G mobile network. And it was designed to be the standard for the air interface of 5G networks globally. It supports 5G vehicles to X service, IMS, and Railway Mobile Communication System.
Release 14
This release specifies energy efficiency, location service, and Mission-critical data over LTE, mission-critical video over LTE. Further, it specifies the FMSS (Flexible Mobile Service Steering), enhancement of TV services, IoT, Cell Broadcast Service.
Release 13
LTE in unlicensed spectrum is a proposed extension of the Long-Term Evolution wireless standard intended to allow cellular network operators to offload some of their data traffic by accessing the unlicensed 5 GHz frequency band. The LTE in unlicensed spectrum and LTE enhancements for Machine-Type Communication specification was specified in this update. It specifies the LTE-A Pro, also known as 4.5G, 4.5G Pro, 4.9G, Pre-5G, 5G Project.
Release 12
It specifies enhanced Small Cells connectivity of higher-order modulation, dual connectivity, cell discovery, self-configuration, and carrier aggregation. Besides, it specifies MIMO for new enhanced services of MTC, D2D communications, and eMBMS enhancements.
Release 11
This release specifies the Advanced IP interconnection of services. It specifies service layer interconnection between operators/carriers with third-party application providers. Besides, it specifies Heterogeneous networks HetNet improvements. Further, it sets In device Co-existence (IDC) and Coordinated Multi-Point operation (CoMP).
Release 10
10th release features LTE Advanced is a mobile communication standard. It is a significant enhancement of the Long Term Evolution (LTE) standard. International Mobile Telecommunications-Advanced (IMT-Advanced Standard) are the requirements specified by the International telecommunication Union. They are backward compatible with the release. It also specifies the Multi-Cell HSDPA carriers.
Release 09
The Ninth Release specifies the SAES enhancements. Besides, it features WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) and LTE/ UMTS interoperability. WiMAX was first designed to provide 30 to 40 Mbit/s data rates.  WiMAX provided a wireless alternative to cable and digital subscriber lines known as DSL for broadband connections. UMTS combines air interface, GSM MAP Core, and GSM for speech codecs. Further, this ninth release features Dual cell HSDPA with MIMO and for LTE HeNB.
Release 08
The first LTE was released in this update. LTE (Long-Term Evolution) is a standard for wireless broadband communication for mobile devices and data terminals, based on the GSM/EDGE and UMTS/HSPA technologies. The network becomes All-IP Network (SAE). It introduced the new FDA, OFDMA, and MIMO-based radio interface, and they are not backward compatible with the previous CDMA interface.
Release 07
Release Seven focuses on decreasing latency and improved the QoS and real-time applications such as VoIP. It also focuses on High-speed packet access evolution (HSPA+). The Sim is a high-speed protocol and contactless interface. These contact-less interfaces enable the operators to deliver contact-less services like mobile payment and EDGE evolutions.
Release 06
This release integrated operation with Wireless LAN networks. And It adds HSUPA, MBMS enhancements to IMS. These enhancements are such as Push to Talk over Cellular (PoC) and GAN.


Release 05
IMS and HSDPA were introduced in this update. IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem or IP Multimedia Core Network Subsystem) is a standardized architectural framework for delivering IP multimedia services. Its original formulation represented an approach for providing Internet services over GPRS. HSPA (High-Speed Packet Access) is a merger of two mobile protocols, High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) and High-Speed Uplink Packet Access (HSUPA), that extends and improves the performance of 3G mobile telecommunication networks using the WCDMA protocols.
Release 04
Originally  It is called the Release 2000 –In this version added features including an all-IP Core Network. The NGN (next-generation network) is a body of fundamental architectural changes in telecommunication core and access networks. The NGN network transports all information and services (voice, data, and all sorts of media such as video) by encapsulating these into IP packets.
Release 99
It specified the very first UMTS 3G networks, incorporating a CDMA air interface to the mobile phones. UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) is a third-generation mobile cellular system based on the GSM standard. CDMA (Code-division multiple access) is a channel access method used by radio communication technologies. UMTS technology uses wideband CDMA, or W-CDMA, and TD-CDMA and TD-SCDMA as its radio technology.
Release 98
GSM Features, AMR codec, EDGE, GPRS for PCS1900 standard. Adaptive Multi-Rate audio codec is an audio compression format. It is well optimized for speech coding. It is a multimedia container format. EDGE is known as enhanced GPRS or Enhanced data rates for the Global Evolution of digital mobile technology.
Release 97
More GSM Features and GPRS- GPRS is a packet-oriented mobile data standard on cellular communication networks. GPRS provides data rates of 56–114 Kbits per second. GPRS is integrated into GSM in this 97 Release. It is an integrated part of the GSM network switching subsystem.
Release 96
GSM Features and increase the user data rate to 14.4Kbits per second.
Phase 2
More Features on GSM Standard and EFR Codec. EFR- Enhanced Full Rate Codec is a speech coding standard. It helps to improve the quality of GSM mobile devices. Enhanced Full Rate incorporate has different patents.
Phase 1
GSM Standard: Specified Protocols for 2nd Generation Cellular networks.

 Specification Groups:

There are two types of specification workgroups, namely Technical Specification Groups and Working Groups. Further, the technical specification group is divided into three. These technical specification groups additionally have multiple working groups.

RAN (Radio Access Network) comprises five working groups: RAN WG1, RAN WG2, RAN WG3, RAN WG4, and RAN WG5.

The SA (Service and System Aspects) SA is composed of six working groups. They are namely SA WG1, SA WG2, SA WG3, SA WG4, SA WG5, and SA WG6.

Core Network and Terminals Network is composed of three protocols with five working groups. They are CT WG1, CT WG2 (closed), CT WG3, CT WG4, CT WG5, and CT WG6.

What is 3GPP2?

It is the 3rd Generation Partnership Project2. It is a collaboration between the telecommunication associations to make globally applicable 3G mobile system specifications with the scope IMT 2000project. 3GPP2 is the CDMA 2000 standardization group. They set the standard for 3G mobile networks based on the earlier CDMAOne 2G CDMA technology. It was established in the year 1998 December. The UltraMobileBroadband was their project for the fourth generation successor to CDMA2000. The UMB sponsor Qualcomm ended their support for UMB and favoring LTE instead.

3GPP is the standard body for the UMTS, and it is the 3G upgrade for GSM networks. In contrast, 3GPP2 is the standard body behind the CDMA2000, which is the 3G standard. CDMA2000 is the 3G upgrade to CDMAONE networks. 3GPP2 was dormant after 2013.

What are 3GP and 3G2?

3GP is a file format for multimedia container defined by the 3GPP for 3G UMTS multimedia service. It is used in 3G mobile services, but they can be played by some specific 2G and 4G mobile phones.

3G2 is a file format for multimedia container defined by 3GPP2 for 3G CDMA2000 mobile services. It is similar to the 3GP file format. But it occupies less space and bandwidth than the 3GP file format. Besides, it has some limitations when compared with 3GP. 3GPP file format is for GSM-based phones, and they have the extension.3gp. 3GPP2 file format is for CDMA-based phones, and they have the extension.3g2.


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