GPRS stands for general packet radio services and is a non-voice service that provides wireless packet data access within GSM -- Global System for Mobile communication -- networks. Although newer, faster mobile technologies such as Edge; 3G (Third Generation); Universal Mobile Telecommunication Service; and high-speed download packet access, or HSDPA access have been developed for mobile devices, GPRS is still supported by most mobile networks.
Communication via GPRS is cheaper than through the regular GSM network. Instant-messenger services and mobile email facilities allow you to send longer messages for cheaper rates through the GPRS connection, as opposed to transmitting messages in SMS or short message service. Customers only pay for the amount of data transported, and not for the duration of the Internet connection.
Through GPRS technology, users are constantly connected to the Internet. As GPRS services are available wherever there is GSM coverage, it allows you to connect to the Internet even when other services such as 3G or HSDPA are not available.
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GPRS provides wireless access to the Internet from any location where there is a network signal. This enables you to surf the Internet on your laptop or phone, even in remote areas.
Although new, faster technology exists today, GPRS is still faster than the older WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) and regular GSM services. GPRS data is transferred at speeds ranging from 9.6 kilobytes per second up to 114kbps.
When you access the Internet through GPRS, it does not block incoming calls through the GSM network. This enables you to make or receive voice calls while you are browsing the Internet or downloading data.