What's the Difference?

EUTRAN (Evolved UTRAN) and UTRAN (Universal Terrestrial Radio Access Network) are both wireless communication technologies used in mobile networks. However, there are some key differences between the two. UTRAN is the older technology and is based on the 3G (third generation) mobile network standard. It uses Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) for data transmission and supports voice and data services. On the other hand, EUTRAN is the newer technology and is part of the 4G (fourth generation) mobile network standard, also known as Long Term Evolution (LTE). EUTRAN uses Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) for data transmission, which allows for higher data rates and improved spectral efficiency compared to UTRAN. Additionally, EUTRAN supports seamless handover between different network technologies, such as UTRAN and GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications), providing better connectivity and coverage for mobile users.


DefinitionEvolved UMTS Terrestrial Radio Access NetworkUniversal Terrestrial Radio Access Network
TechnologyLong Term Evolution (LTE)Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA)
Frequency BandsSupports both FDD and TDD bandsPrimarily supports FDD bands
Peak Data RateUp to 1 GbpsUp to 42 Mbps
Backward CompatibilityNot backward compatible with UTRANBackward compatible with GSM
Core NetworkEvolved Packet Core (EPC)UMTS Terrestrial Radio Access Network (UTRAN)
HandoverSeamless handover between EUTRAN cellsHandover between UTRAN cells
IP VersionIPv6IPv4

Further Detail


As technology continues to evolve, so does the world of telecommunications. With the advent of 4G and 5G networks, the need for efficient and reliable mobile communication has become paramount. Two key technologies that have played a significant role in this evolution are EUTRAN (Evolved UMTS Terrestrial Radio Access Network) and UTRAN (UMTS Terrestrial Radio Access Network). In this article, we will compare the attributes of EUTRAN and UTRAN, highlighting their similarities and differences.

Network Architecture

EUTRAN and UTRAN both serve as radio access networks for mobile communication systems. However, they differ in terms of their network architecture. UTRAN is the radio access network used in the Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS), which is a 3G technology. It consists of Node Bs (base stations) and Radio Network Controllers (RNCs) that manage the radio resources and provide connectivity to the core network. On the other hand, EUTRAN is the radio access network used in the Long-Term Evolution (LTE) and 5G networks. It comprises eNodeBs (evolved Node Bs) that serve as base stations and connect directly to the Evolved Packet Core (EPC) without the need for RNCs.

Radio Interface

Another significant difference between EUTRAN and UTRAN lies in their radio interfaces. UTRAN uses Wideband Code Division Multiple Access (WCDMA) as its radio interface technology. WCDMA allows for high-speed data transmission and supports both voice and data services. It uses a CDMA-based multiple access scheme, where multiple users share the same frequency band by using different codes. On the other hand, EUTRAN utilizes Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) as its radio interface technology. OFDMA divides the available frequency band into multiple subcarriers and assigns them to different users, allowing for efficient utilization of the spectrum and improved data rates.

Frequency Bands

When it comes to frequency bands, both EUTRAN and UTRAN support a wide range of frequencies. UTRAN operates in the frequency bands allocated for UMTS, including the 2100 MHz band for 3G services. EUTRAN, on the other hand, supports a broader range of frequency bands, including those used for LTE and 5G networks. These bands can vary depending on the region and the specific deployment of the network. The flexibility in frequency band support allows for better coverage and capacity planning, catering to the diverse needs of different operators and regions.

Throughput and Latency

Both EUTRAN and UTRAN aim to provide high data throughput and low latency for a seamless user experience. However, EUTRAN, with its use of OFDMA, offers higher peak data rates compared to UTRAN. The use of multiple subcarriers in OFDMA allows for parallel transmission of data, increasing the overall throughput. Additionally, EUTRAN's simplified network architecture, without the need for RNCs, reduces the latency in data transmission. UTRAN, although capable of providing high-speed data services, may have slightly lower peak data rates and higher latency due to its use of WCDMA and the involvement of RNCs in the network.

Migration and Compatibility

One important aspect to consider when comparing EUTRAN and UTRAN is their migration and compatibility. EUTRAN is designed as an evolution of UTRAN, allowing for a smooth transition from 3G to 4G and 5G networks. This means that existing UTRAN infrastructure can be upgraded to support EUTRAN, minimizing the need for a complete overhaul of the network. However, it is important to note that while EUTRAN is backward compatible with UTRAN, the reverse is not true. UTRAN cannot support EUTRAN technology, making it necessary for operators to invest in new infrastructure when migrating to EUTRAN.


In conclusion, EUTRAN and UTRAN are both crucial technologies in the world of mobile communication. While UTRAN serves as the radio access network for UMTS, EUTRAN takes the lead in LTE and 5G networks. They differ in terms of network architecture, radio interface, frequency bands, throughput, and compatibility. EUTRAN offers higher peak data rates and lower latency due to its use of OFDMA and simplified network architecture. However, UTRAN still plays a significant role in 3G networks and can be upgraded to support EUTRAN. As technology continues to advance, both EUTRAN and UTRAN will continue to evolve, providing users with faster and more reliable mobile communication services.

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