3GP(3GPP File Format) is a multimedia container format used on 3G mobile phones. It can also be played on some 2G and 4G phones. 3GP is defined by the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) for 3G UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) multimedia services. 3GP files are stored with the .3gp extension. 3GP file format was designed for GSM-based (Global System for Mobile Communications) phones and is the standard format for media files sent via MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service). Unlike MP4, which uses H.263 codec, 3GP files preferably used the H.263 codec.
Technical Details of 3GP File Format
The 3GP video format is based on the ISO base media file format defined in ISO/IEC 14496-12 – MPEG-4 Part 12. It was developed for mobile phones to reduce storage, bandwidth, and data usage. 3GP file format supports the following codecs:
MPEG-4 Part 2
MPEG-4 Part 10 (AVC/H.264)
HE-AAC v2 (Enhanced aacPlus)
The 3GP file format allowed the usage of H.263 and AMR codecs and defined new boxes to which the codecs refer. These code-points were registered in ISO base media file format for the storage of MPEG-4 media-specific information.
Supporting Devices for 3GP Video Files
Mobile phones with 3G capabilities
PlayStation 3 audio imported from a CD
The Nintendo 3DS played YouTube videos using 3GP technology
Apple’s iDevices supported playback of files only as passthrough files