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3rd Generation Mobile Phones
Not long after the introduction of 2G networks, third generation (3G) systems were soon developed. Various standards with different contending developers pushed their own technologies. Quite differently from 2G systems, however, the meaning of 3G has been standardized in the IMT-2000 standardization processing. This process did not standardize on a technology, but rather on a set of requirements (2 Mbit/s maximum data rate indoors, 384 kbit/s outdoors, for example). At that point, the vision of a single unified worldwide standard broke down. Instead, several different standards have been introduced and accepted.
The launch of the first pre-commercial 3G network was launched in May 2001 by NTT DoCoMo in the Tokyo region of Japan. Commercially, NTT DoCoMo launched the 3G network on 1 October 2001, using the WCDMA technology. In 2002, the first 3G networks on the rival CDMA2000 1xEV-DO technology were launched by SK Telecom and KTF in South Korea, and Monet in the USA. Monet was short-lived though. By the end of 2002, the second WCDMA network was launched in Japan by Vodafone KK (now Softbank). In March Italy and the UK by the Three/Hutchison group, were the launchpads for the first European 3G on WCDMA. 2003 saw a further 8 commercial launches of 3G, six more on WCDMA and two more on the EV-DO standard.
As 3G systems are being developed, 2.5G systems such as CDMA2000 1x and GPRS were developed as extensions to existing 2G networks. These provide some of the features of 3G without fulfilling the promised high data rates or full range of multimedia services. Theoretical maximum data speeds of up to 307 kbit/s are delivered by CDMA2000-1X. While the EDGE system, while in theory covers the requirements for 3G system, narrowly falls short.
There were 295 Million subscribers on 3G networks worldwide, by the end of 2007. This reflected 9% of the total worldwide subscriber base. About two thirds of these are on the WCDMA standard and one third on the EV-DO standard. The 3G telecoms services generated over 120 Billion dollars of revenues during 2007 owing to the fact that in many markets the majority of new phones activated were on 3G. In Japan and South Korea,in fact, the market has rendered second generation phones obsolete. Earlier in the decade there were doubts about whether 3G might happen, and also whether 3G might become a commercial success. But at the close of 2007 it had become clear that 3G was a reality and was clearly on the path to become a profitable venture.
Live streaming of radio and television to 3G handsets is one future direction for the industry, with companies from RealNetworks and Disney  recently announcing services.
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