General packet radio service (GPRS) is a packet-oriented mobile data service available to users of the 2G cellular communication systems global system for mobile communications (GSM), as well as in the 3G systems. In 2G systems, GPRS provides data rates of 56-114 kbit/s.
GPRS data transfer is typically charged per megabyte of traffic transferred, while data communication via traditional circuit switching is billed per minute of connection time, independent of whether the user actually is using the capacity or is in an idle state. GPRS is a best-effort packet-switched service, as opposed to circuit switching, where a certain quality of service (QoS) is guaranteed during the connection for non-mobile users.
2G cellular systems combined with GPRS are often described as 2.5G, that is, a technology between the second (2G) and third (3G) generations of mobile telephony. It provides moderate speed data transfer, by using unused time division multiple access (TDMA) channels in, for example, the GSM system. Originally there was some thought to extend GPRS to cover other standards, but instead those networks are being converted to use the GSM standard, so that GSM is the only kind of network where GPRS is in use. GPRS was originally standardized by European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), but now by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP).
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