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3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) is a collaborative project aimed at developing globally acceptable specifications for third generation (3G) mobile systems.
The 3GPP caters to a large majority of the telecommunications networks in the world. It is the standard body behind UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System), which is the 3G upgrade of GSM. Most cellular networks on the planet are based on GSM.
The technical specifications and reports produced by 3GPP are crafted for 3G mobile systems based on evolved GSM core networks as well as the radio access technologies they support, including Universal Terrestrial Radio Access (UTRA), General Packet Radio Service (GPRS), and Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE).
3GPP specifications also cover W-CDMA (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access), LTE (3GPP Long Term Evolution), LTE-Advanced, Europe’s UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System), and Japan’s FOMA (Freedom of Mobile Multimedia Access) networks.
The telecommunications standards bodies that make up the 3GPP are known as Organizational Partners (OP) and includes: Japan’s Association of Radio Industries and Businesses (ARIB) and Telecommunications Technology Committee (TTC), the China Communications Standards Association (CCSA), South Korea’s Telecommunications Technology Association (TTA), the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), and the Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS).
There are four Technical Specifications Groups (TSG) under 3GPP: TSG GERAN for GSM EDGE radio access networks, TSG RAN for the UTRA/E-UTRA radio access networks in its two modes (FDD and TDD), TSG SA for Service and Systems Aspects, and TSG CT for Core Network and Terminals. Each TSG has its own set of Working Groups (WG)
3GPP specifications, which can be downloaded for free from the 3GPP website, are very comprehensive and cover everything from the radio part, through the core network, to the billing information and speech coding.