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What is 3GPP (Third Generation Partnership Project)?

3GPP (Third Generation Partnership Project) represents a global collaboration between telecommunications organizations working towards developing a third-generation (3G) mobile phone system specification that has applicability on a global scale. 3GPP ensures standardization and interoperability across various mobile networks and devices, bringing about a harmonized mobile telecommunication network worldwide. By understanding the nuances of 3GPP, IT administrators can better manage mobile devices.

Background and history of 3GPP

Several national telecommunications standards bodies established 3GPP in December 1998 as a globally applicable 3G mobile phone system. Over the years, 3GPP has played a crucial role in the evolution of mobile communications, from 3G to 4G, and now towards 5G.

What is 3GPP?

3GPP, or the Third Generation Partnership Project, is a collaboration between groups of telecommunications associations. Its primary mission is to make a globally applicable third-generation (3G) mobile phone system specification that falls within the scope of the International Mobile Telecommunications-2000 project of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). 

Benefits of 3GPP

  • Global standardization

With 3GPP, there is a unified global standard for mobile communications. This ensures compatibility and interoperability between different networks and devices worldwide.

  • Continuous evolution

3GPP does not remain static. It evolves continuously, adapting to emerging technologies and market demands. This dynamic nature keeps it relevant in the fast-paced world of mobile communications.

  • Rich ecosystem

3GPP has fostered a rich ecosystem of manufacturers, operators, and service providers. This diversity fuels innovation and competition, ultimately benefiting the end-users.

3GPP releases

Every so often, 3GPP releases a new set of specifications that reflect the continuous evolution of 3GPP standards. Each release encapsulates enhancements, new features, and, sometimes, new radio access technologies. Some of the most impactful 3GPP releases include Release 99, which established the core of 3G UMTS systems, and Release 15, which paved the way for the initial deployment of 5G networks.

What are 3GPP standards?

3GPP standards are technical specifications and reports for mobile systems. They cover various aspects, including radio access, core network, and service capabilities. These standards ensure uniformity and interoperability across different mobile networks and devices.

  • Global collaboration

The 3GPP brings together seven telecommunications standard development organizations, including the Association of Radio Industries and Businesses (ARIB), to produce reports and specifications.

  • Mobile system design

The standards are designed for mobile systems based on evolved GSM core networks and the radio access technologies they use.

  • Technical specifications

It’s important to note that 3GPP develops technical specifications, not standards. This is a subtle but significant organizational clarification.

  • ATIS standards

Some 3GPP specifications correspond to ATIS standards, otherwise known as ATIS transpositions of 3GPP specifications.


In conclusion, 3GPP is vital for mobile device management as it ensures standardization and interoperability across different mobile networks and devices, thereby fostering a harmonized mobile telecommunication network globally. Its standards and releases form the backbone of mobile networks. By fostering a uniform, interoperable, and continuously evolving system, 3GPP plays a pivotal role in shaping the future of mobile communications. 

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