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Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP)

Definition - What does Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) mean?

The Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) is a collaborative Project Agreement between telecommunications industry partners (Organizational Partners) for formalizing global mobile 3G wireless systems based on radio access technologies and Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) specifications.

The 3GPP file format extension (.3gp) is defined for 3G multimedia service and also used in Second Generation (2G) and Fourth Generation (4G) mobile wireless technologies.


3GPP documentation is publicly accessible via the 3GPP website.

Techopedia explains Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP)

3GPP systems are deployed in GSM markets. 3GPP incorporates releases as individually documented specifications with the following features:

  • Detailed mobile industry insight
  • Billing information
  • Source level speech coding
  • Encryption

3GPP specifications also include GSM technical maintenance and development, such as evolved radio access technologies.

3GPP work is managed via meetings and direct mail. Voting opportunities and decisions are finalized by consensus. The following are 3GPP membership levels:

  • Organizational Partners
  • Market representation partners
  • Individual Members: More than 450 global companies

3GPP technical specification groups are structured as follows:

  • Core network
  • Radio access network
  • Service and system components
  • GSM and Enhanced Data GSM Environment (EDGE) radio networks
  • Terminals

Terminal working groups perform technical works for ultimate technical specification approval.


Current and past Organizational Partners include the Association of Radio Industries and Businesses (ARIB), China Wireless Telecommunication Standard (CWTS), European standardization entity (ETSI), Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS), Telecommunication Technology Association (TTA) and Telecommunication Technology Committee (TTC).

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