GPRS Definition

According to Abbreviationfinder, GPRS is an acronym for G eneral P Acket R adio S ervice (General Packet Radio Service), which is an evolution of the standard GSM, and that’s why sometimes called GSM ++ (or GMS 2+). Since it is a second generation telephony standard that allows a transition to third generation (3G), the GPRS standard is generally classified as 2.5G.

GPRS extends the architecture of the GSM standard to allow packet data transfer with a theoretical data rate of around 171.2 Kbits / s (up to 114 Kbits / s in practice). Thanks to its packet transfer mode, data transmissions only use the network when necessary.

Thus, the GPRS standard allows the user to be billed for data volume rather than the duration of the connection, which especially means that the user can stay connected at no additional cost.

For voice transport, the GPRS standard uses the GSM network architecture and provides access to the data network (especially the Internet) by means of the IP protocol or the X.25 protocol.

GPRS network architecture

The GPRS network architecture is fundamentally based on GSM. The main elements that are introduced are:

  • Two GPRS support nodes: the switching node (SGSN) and the gateway node (GGSN) whose missions are complementary. In general terms, the SGSN will be in charge of mobility management and maintenance of the logical link between mobile and network. The GGSN is what provides access to IP-based data networks.
  • Software update at BTS (Base Transceiver Station) level.
  • New hardware in the station controller (BSC). This hardware is called PCU (Packet Unit Control) and it is in charge of handling packet communication.
  • The GPRS backbone or IP-based backbone.


GPRS supports new features that are not available in the GSM standard and that can be classified into the following types of services:

– Transfer speed of up to 144 Kbps.

– Permanent connection. Connection establishment time less than one second.

– Point-to-point service (PTP): it is the ability to connect in client-server mode to a computer on an IP network.

– Point-to-multipoint service (PTMP): it constitutes the ability to send packets to a group of recipients (Multicast).

– Short message service (SMS).

– Payment for the amount of information transmitted, not for the connection time.


The advantages that the user obtains with the GPRS system are a direct consequence of the characteristics seen in the previous point.
• “Always connected” characteristic: a GPRS user can be connected as long as he wants, since he does not make use of network resources (and therefore does not pay) as long as he is not receiving or transmitting data.
• Pricing by volume of data transferred, instead of by time.
• Zero cost of establishing a connection to the GPRS network, compared to the quantum of connection currently existing in GSM.

  • Higher transmission speed. In GSM you can only have one channel assigned (a “timeslot”), however, in GPRS, you can have several channels assigned, both in the direction of transmission from the mobile to the base station and from the base station to the mobile. The transmission speed will increase with the number of assigned channels.

In addition, GPRS allows the use of data coding schemes that allow a higher data transfer speed than in GSM.

  • Possibility of making / receiving voice calls while connected or using any of the services available with this technology.
  • Asymmetric transmission mode, more adapted to the type of html or wml navigation traffic (a 4 + 1 GPRS terminal (4 downlink and 1 uplink slots) will have four times greater transmission capacity downlink than uplink).

GPRS services

The services that a user will obtain from this system would be the equivalent of having a PC connected to the Internet, this being pocket-sized.

1- Access the Internet and email in mobility. GPRS allows mobile access to all Internet facilities using the GPRS terminal as a modem:

  • Access to Internet mail accounts (reading and sending e-mails).
  • Notice of receipt of mail on the mobile.
  • Web browsing.
  • Download files.
  • From any PC, personal digital assistant (PDA) or directly from the GPRS terminal (if its characteristics allow it).
  • Paying only for the volume of data transmitted and received and not for the connection time.

2- Access the corporate Intranet on the go.
3- Access to corporate email accounts (intranet):

  • GPRS allows the company e-mail systems (Microsoft Mail, Outlook Express, Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Notes, etc…) to be used from a mobile device (laptop, PDA or the mobile itself).
  • The user can access their corporate email on the go, read it and reply to it as if they were in the office.

4- Access to databases and corporate applications from a mobile device:

  • Sales Force Management: inquiry of order status, catalog inquiry, inventory inquiry, customer information… from anywhere.
  • Management of work teams that operate outside the company (maintenance, supervision, distribution teams…). With GPRS you can send notices, fill out work reports, get detailed information on shipments or repairs …….from anywhere.

4- GPRS access to WAP applications for business use (through the WAP service):

  • Agenda, directories, business cards, E-mail, mail, Tasks, Board, send fax, team management.

5- Access to information services (through the WAP service):

  • Thematic channels: News, Finance, Travel….
  • Conecta Guide: Road guide, Restaurant reservation, Telephone guide, Street map…
  • Shopping center: Mobile banking, Tickets….
  • Internet / Services: Search Engine, Translator….

Advantages for the operator

Efficient use of network resources: users only occupy network resources at the time they are transmitting or receiving data, and communication channels can also be shared between different users and not dedicated as in the GSM model.