What Frequencies Are Used by 3G 2100?

Written by frank gates
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What Frequencies Are Used by 3G 2100?
3G operates in the 2100MHz bandwidth. (tv tower transmitter: radio antenna image by alma_sacra from Fotolia.com)

In the United States the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) controls the signals in the airways by assigning different frequency bands to different types of radio services. Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) is the name of the band of frequencies allocated by the FCC to mobile communications. Within this AWS band, a part of the ultra-high frequency (UHF) portion is the Multichannel Multipoint Distribution Service (MMDS). This MMDS service operates in the AWS radio spectrum between 2.1 and 2.7 GHz and is commonly known as wireless cable. Mobile phone 3G frequency assignments share this 2,100MHz band with wireless cable in North America.

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Frequencies Used by Wireless Cable

The range of 2,150 to 2,162MHz is the wireless cable frequency range that falls within the 2,100MHz bandwidth. There are two television channels assigned by the FCC to this frequency range. Both channels are standard 6MHz bandwidth television channels. This is Multipoint Distribution Service or MDS.


Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) is the third generation of mobile phone technology for cellular radio systems. It's one step up from the GSM standard used primarily throughout the world except in the United States, which uses the CDMA standard. These standards are not interchangeable and thus mobile phones from Europe usually don't work in the United States and vice versa. The UMTS standard uses a 5MHz channel in the 1,900 megahertz range for uplink and a second 5MHz channel in the 2,100MHz range for downlink. This means that the 2,100MHz range contains only one half of the mobile phone conversation.

North America

Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) is a leading mobile phone standard in North America. The CDMA protocol uses 1.25MHz channels for each direction of transmission. The downlink 1.25MHz channel is located in the 2,100MHz range. Enhanced Data Rates for Global Evolution (EDGE) is a North American temporary 3G solution that uses existing GSM spectrum and handsets. T-Mobile's 3G system works with a combination of 2,100MHz and 1,700MHz together and requires AWS. The 2,100MHz bandwidth contains the download portion of the mobile phone conversation. The 1,700MHz bandwidth contains the upload portion and T-Mobile is the only carrier which uses the bandwidth.

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