3G UMTS WCDMA Frequency Bands & UARFCN

3G UMTS WCDMA Frequency Bands & UARFCN

Although there are many bands and frequencies available now for mobile telecommunications, 3G UMTS had a number of recognised bands that were widely used for carrying these services.

One of the advantages of the use of 3G UMTS was that spectrum around the globe was coordinated well and this meant that mobile handsets could have a relatively limited number of bands if they were to operate anywhere.

Although with the advent of 4G, 5G, etc and a much greater number of users, spectrum allocations have proliferated and been allocated according to local availability, the 3G bands and allocations were much more coordinated.

UMTS bands basics

As the use of 3G UMTS has grown, so too has the requirement for frequency allocations. Initially frequency bands in the region of 1885 - 2025 and 2110 - 2200 MHz were set aside.

These frequency bands were originally set aside at the World Administrative radio Conference in 1992, to enable use on a worldwide basis by administrations wishing to implement International Mobile Telecommunications-2000, IMT-2000.

As the requirement for additional frequency spectrum grew with the increased use of 3G UMTS, more allocations were set aside.

Although not all bands are available in all countries, all bands are managed on an international basis. In this way roaming is possible without the need for a huge number of frequency bands needing to be incorporated within each mobile device.

3G UMTS bandwidth

UMTS uses wideband CDMA as the radio transport mechanism and the UMTS frequency channels are spaced by 5 MHz.

The UMTS signal bandwidth is normally considered to be 5 MHz but this figure includes the 0.58 MHz guard bands either side.

Therefore when the two guard bands, one either side, are excluded this leaves and effective signal bandwidth of 3.84 MHz within the flat response area of the signal for the transmission itself.

It is also necessary to consider the roll-off factor for the signal of 0.22. This roll-off factor is determined by the Root Raised Cosine filter specified by 3GPP. This means that the total signal bandwidth increasing the skirts is 4.68 MHz.

It is also worth noting that the frequency bandwidth used for the TD-SCDMA variant of 3G UMTS used in China is 1.6 MHz.

UARFCN channel numbers

UMTS carrier frequencies are designated by a UTRA Absolute Radio Frequency Channel Number, UARFCN. The UARFCN is used to define channel numbers in an easy and unambiguous fashion.

The UARFCN can be easily calculated from the following equation or formula:

UARFCN=5  frequency in MHz

The UARFCN is only able to represent channels that are centred on a multiple of 200 kHz and these do not always align with licensing in North America. Accordingly 3GPP added several special values for the common North American channels.

3G UMTS frequency bands - FDD

As FDD, frequency division duplex requires bands for uplink and downlink, the bands for FDD are different to those required for TDD time division duplex.

The main UMTS / WCDMA frequency bands for FDD operation are summarised below:

3G UMTS Frequency Bands - FDD
Band NumberBandCommon NameUL FrequenciesDL Frequencues
12100IMT1920 - 19802120 - 2170
21900PCS A-F1850 - 19101930 - 1990
31800DCS1710 - 17851805 - 1880
41700AWS A-F1710 - 17552110 - 2155
5850CLR824 - 849869 - 894
6800830 - 840875 - 885
72600IMT-E2500 - 25702620 - 2690
8900E-GSM880 - 915925 - 960
917001749.9 - 1784.91844.9 - 1879.9
101700EAWS A-G1710 - 17702110 - 2170
111500LPDC1427.9 - 1447.91475.9 - 1495.9
12700LSMH699 - 716729 - 746
13700USMH C777 - 787746 - 756
14700USMH D788 - 798758 - 768
19800832.4 - 842.6877.4 - 887.6
20800EUDD832 - 862791 - 821
211500UPDC1447.9 - 1462.91495 - 1510.9
2235003410 - 34903510 - 3590
251900EPCS A-G1850 - 19151930 - 1995
26850ECLR814 - 849859 - 894

Frequency bands 15, 16, 17, 18, 23 and 24 are now reserved frequency bands.

3G UMTS frequency bands - TDD

The main UMTS frequency bands for TDD, time division duplex, operation are summarised below.

3G UMTS Frequency Bands - TDD
Band ReferenceBand NameFrequencies
A LowerIMT1900 - 1920
A UpperIMT2010 - 2025
B LowerPCS1850 - 1910
B UpperPCS1930 - 1990
CPCS duplex gap1910 - 1930
DIMT-E2570 - 2620
E2300 - 2400
F1880 - 1920

It is also noted that several of the UMTS frequency bands overlap or share similar frequencies. This is because the frequency allocations are for different areas, and each frequency band definition is given a new band number for that particular band.

One of the advantages of the way in which 3G UMTS frequency bands were allocated was that there was a large amount of commonality around the globe. With the increase in usage for 4G and then 5G, it was not possible to gain the same degree of global commonality.

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Watch the video: GSM Bands Part 1 by TELCOMA Global (January 2022).