Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution (EDGE), Enhanced GPRS (EGPRS), or IMT Single Carrier (IMT-SC) is a backward-compatible digital mobile phone technology that allows improved data transmission rates, as an extension on top of standard GSM. EDGE can be considered a 3G radio technology and is part of ITU's 3G definition, but is most frequently referred to as 2.75G. EDGE was deployed on GSM networks beginning in 2003— initially by Cingular (now AT&T) in the United States.

EDGE is standardized by 3GPP as part of the GSM family, and it is an upgrade that provides a potential three-fold increase in capacity of GSM/GPRS networks. The specification achieves higher data-rates by switching to more sophisticated methods of coding, within existing GSM timeslots. Introducing 8PSK encoding, EDGE is capable of delivering higher bit-rates per radio channel in good conditions.

EDGE can be used for any packet switched application, such as an Internet connection. High-speed data applications such as video services and other multimedia benefit from EGPRS' increased data capacity. EDGE Circuit Switched is a possible future development.

Evolved EDGE was added in Release 7 of the 3GPP standard. This is a further extension on top of EDGE, providing reduced latency and potential speeds of 1Mbit/s by using even more complex coding functions than the 8PSK originally introduced with EDGE.


EDGE/EGPRS is implemented as a bolt-on enhancement for 2G and 2.5G GSM and GPRS networks, making it easier for existing GSM carriers to upgrade to it. EDGE/EGPRS is a superset to GPRS and can function on any network with GPRS deployed on it, provided the carrier implements the necessary upgrade.

Although EDGE requires no hardware or software changes to be made in GSM core networks, base stations must be modified. EDGE compatible transceiver units must be installed and the base station subsystem needs to be upgraded to support EDGE. If the operator already has this in place, which is often the case today, the network can be upgraded to EDGE by activating an optional software feature. Today EDGE is supported by all major chip vendors for GSM. New mobile terminal hardware and software is also required to decode/encode the new modulation and coding schemes and carry the higher user data rates to implement new services.

Transmission techniques

In addition to Gaussian minimum-shift keying (GMSK), EDGE uses higher-order PSK/8 phase shift keying (8PSK) for the upper five of its nine modulation and coding schemes. EDGE produces a 3-bit word for every change in carrier phase. This effectively triples the gross data rate offered by GSM. EDGE, like GPRS, uses a rate adaptation algorithm that adapts the modulation and coding scheme (MCS) according to the quality of the radio channel, and thus the bit rate and robustness of data transmission. It introduces a new technology not found in GPRS, Incremental Redundancy, which, instead of retransmitting disturbed packets, sends more redundancy information to be combined in the receiver. This increases the probability of correct decoding.

EDGE can carry data speeds up to 236.8 kbit/s (with end-to-end latency of less than 150 ms) for 4 timeslots (theoretical maximum is 473.6 kbit/s for 8 timeslots) in packet mode. This means it can handle four times as much traffic as standard GPRS. EDGE will therefore meets the International Telecommunications Union's requirement for a 3G network, and has been accepted by the ITU as part of the IMT-2000 family of 3G standards. It also enhances the circuit data mode called HSCSD, increasing the data rate of this service.

EDGE Evolution

EDGE Evolution improves on EDGE in a number of ways. Latencies are reduced by lowering the Transmission Time Interval by half (from 20 ms to 10 ms). Bit rates are increased up to 1 MBit/s peak speed and latencies down to 100 ms using dual carriers, higher symbol rate and higher-order modulation (32QAM and 16QAM instead of 8-PSK), and turbo codes to improve error correction. And finally signal quality is improved using dual antennas improving average bit-rates and spectrum efficiency. EDGE Evolution can be gradually introduced as software upgrades, taking advantage of the installed base. With EDGE Evolution, end-users will be able to experience mobile internet connections corresponding to a 500 kbit/s ADSL service.