2G is short for second-generation wireless telephone technology. Three primary benefits of 2G networks over their predecessors were that phone conversations were digitally encrypted; 2G systems were significantly more efficient on the spectrum allowing for far greater mobile phone penetration levels; and 2G introduced data services for mobile, starting with SMS text messages.
2.5G is a stepping stone between 2G and 3G cellular wireless technologies. The term “second and a half generation” is used to describe 2G-systems that have implemented a packet-switched domain in addition to the circuit-switched domain. It does not necessarily provide faster services because bundling of timeslots is used for circuit-switched data services (HSCSD) as well.