Verizon Wireless bills itself as "the nation's largest 3G network." The company is also one of the largest providers of cellular phone service in the country. Verizon was the first company in the United States to begin offering subscribers access to 3G service, which provides high-speed Internet connections through compatible mobile phones.
The term "3G" applies to a wide variety of third-generation cellular data networks. A 3G system allows data to be transmitted over a standard cellular connection at speeds much greater than the previous two generations of broadband access. In most cases, phones can now transmit and receive information at speeds comparable to DSL or cable-based Internet connections. Verizon uses a 3G system known as "EV-DO," or Evolution-Data Optimized.
The Verizon network of 3G runs at speeds of 600 Kbps to 1.4 Mbps. These speeds are on par with basic home DSL service, making 3G a viable alternative to computer-based downloads. Phones that are capable of receiving a 3G signal can download a standard song in about 30 seconds.
Verizon offers a wide range of products that are capable of using a 3G signal. The Apple iPhone is an example of the types of smartphones that can use the Verizon system. Verizon also offers 3G access to the Apple iPad tablet computer. Almost all of the company's regular cell phones can also make some use of the 3G system, although only smartphones can access the full Internet. The company also makes a mobile broadband card that allows computers and laptops to access the 3G signal without a cellular phone attached.
Verizon offers a variety of plans to access its 3G data capabilities. For featured phones and smartphones, Verizon offers an unlimited data plan that allows for an unlimited amount of downloads and uploads from the mobile device. Users of feature phones that are not considered smartphones can purchase up to 75 megabytes of access per month. Those plans will charge the user an additional fee for every 75 megabytes of access after the initial use.
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