The radio technology used between mobile terminals and the base stations of 3GPP systems is generically known as 'Universal Terrestrial Radio Access' (UTRA) and the access network as 'Universal Terrestrial Radio Access Network' (UTRAN).

The terms encompass the system architecture (3GPP TS 25.301) and its physical layer (3GPP TS 25.201) together with all the other aspects of the radio technology definition (25.-series).

The basic modulation technique is Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (W-CDMA) but interworking with other technologies such as wireless local are networks, wireless metropolitan networks, and of course, GSM/EDGE radio access technologies (GERAN) is also envisaged.

Long- term evolution

UTRA, with the enhancements provided by High Speed Packet Access (HSPA), for both downlink and uplink, will remain highly competitive for several years. Nevertheless, the industry that has developed the 3GPPTM technologies is anxious to ensure the continued competitiveness of those technologies and has launched a Long Term Evolution project within 3GPP.

The focus of the LTE project is on:

  • enhancement of the Universal Terrestrial Radio Access (UTRA)
  • optimization of the UTRAN architecture.

A parallel activity is taking place on the evolution of the 3GPP system architecture. Descriptions of both activities can be found on the 3GPP website.


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Standard No.Standard Title
3GPP TS 25.301 Radio interface protocol architecture
3GPP TS 25.201 Physical layer - general description