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Energy conservation is essential to wireless networks, particularly for third-generation (3G) and fourth-generation (4G) wireless systems, because high-speed data transmissions would rapidly exhaust the energy of a mobile station. This paper presents the details of energy-saving mechanisms for packet data services in two major standards, namely, the Third-Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) and the Third-Generation Partnership Project 2 (3GPP2). In addition to qualitative comparison, analytic models and quantitative comparison based on the energy-saving models are provided. The proposed analytic models analyze and quantify the energy consumption for bursty and streaming traffic in cdma2000 and wideband code division multiple access (WCDMA). The impacts of an inactivity timer on energy consumption and reconnection cost are demonstrated further by simulation and analysis. The analytic results could be used to suggest proper timer lengths that can balance the energy consumption and the reconnection cost. In addition to providing insights of the energy-conservation mechanisms of 3GPP and 3GPP2, which are often difficult to directly obtain from standards specifications, results shown in this paper are also practical for 3GPP and 3GPP2 operators to determine proper parameters for energy efficiency.