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General Packet Radio Services (GPRS) is a wireless data communication service that transfers data at a rate of up to 40-50Kbps, a similar access speed to a dial-up modem.

It permits continuous connection to the Internet for mobile phones and higher data rates allow for the use of multimedia applications such as websites viewing on mobile handheld devices. Other features provided through the use of GPRS are e-mail, video streaming, multimedia messages and location-based services. GPRS is based on Global System for Mobile communication, which runs at speeds of up to 9.6 kilobits, and is available on almost all GSM networks.

GPRS is an efficient way of sending and receiving small bursts of data, such as e-mail and web browsing, in addition to receiving large volumes of data.

EGPRS (Enhanced GPRS or EDGE) is an enhanced version of GPRS and uses a different type of technology. It allows GPRS transfers of approximately three times faster.

Capabilities Available With GPRS

GPRS provides the ability to make use many different mobile services and capabilities, for example e-mail, web browsing, games, calendar funcionality, using the cell phone as modem for laptops. instant messaging and lots more.

For a more complete list, see Nokia: What You Can Do With GPRS.

GPRS Classes

There are three GPRS classes which help indicate the capabilities of a mobile phone.

Class A Mobile phones of this class can be connected to both GPRS and GSM services simultaneously.

Class B Mobile phones of this class can be attached to both GPRS and GSM services, but using only one service at a time. Switching between them (suspend/resume) is done automatically.

Class C Mobile phones of this class are attached to either GPRS or GSM voice service. One needs to switch manually between services.

Comparison of Technologies

The class of the device determines the speed at which GPRS can be used. The table below displays different types of technologies and their rates of transfer.

Type Uplink (Send) Downlink (Receive)
GPRS 14 kbps 28-64 kbps
GSM CSD 9.6-14 kbps 9.6-14 kbps
Dial-UP 56 kbps 56 kbps
ISDN Standard 64 kbps 64 kbps
Broadband 2 Mbps 2 Mbps