The differences between cellular phones that provide 2G or 3G signals can be seen in how quickly each allows you to access websites. The 2G, or second-generation, system, which is also known as the EDGE network and is available from most cellular providers, is significantly slower than the 3G network that is currently available on many phones. If you want to differentiate 2G from 3G, you must access your cell phone settings or literature. Some phones, such as the iPhone 3GS, have options to toggle between 2G and 3G.
Open the browser of your cell phone and attempt to access a website. Look at the indication bar, which is usually at the top of the phone's screen, that shows you the cellular signal. If it states 3G, then you know you have a 3G phone.
Access the settings of your phone to determine the network. Each phone has a different method to access the Internet settings. Refer to the owner's manual of your phone to determine how to navigate to the system settings, where you can find out information about your phone. Within settings, look to see if the Internet is listed as 3G or EDGE.
Access a cell phone information website such as Phonedog.com to determine if your phone is 3G or EDGE. Type the name of your phone into the search area of the website and click "specifications," and under Internet browser the site will inform you if your phone is 2G or 3G. Follow this same procedure by accessing your cell phone provider's website.
Your cell phone packaging will tell you whether or not your phone is a 3G.