3G UMTS WCDMA Frequency Bands & UARFCN

3G UMTS used a number of standard frequencies and bands and channels were given a UARFCN which can easily be calculated


3G UMTS includes:
What is UMTS     Network architecture     Radio access     Radio interface     Frequency bands     UMTS CDMA     Modulation     Data channels     UMTS TDD     TD-SDCDMA     Handover    


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 Number Band Common Name UL Frequencies DL Frequencues
1 2100 IMT 1920 - 1980 2120 - 2170
2 1900 PCS A-F 1850 - 1910 1930 - 1990
3 1800 DCS 1710 - 1785 1805 - 1880
4 1700 AWS A-F 1710 - 1755 2110 - 2155
5 850 CLR 824 - 849 869 - 894
6 800 830 - 840 875 - 885
7 2600 IMT-E 2500 - 2570 2620 - 2690
8 900 E-GSM 880 - 915 925 - 960
9 1700 1749.9 - 1784.9 1844.9 - 1879.9
10 1700 EAWS A-G 1710 - 1770 2110 - 2170
11 1500 LPDC 1427.9 - 1447.9 1475.9 - 1495.9
12 700 LSMH 699 - 716 729 - 746
13 700 USMH C 777 - 787 746 - 756
14 700 USMH D 788 - 798 758 - 768
19 800 832.4 - 842.6 877.4 - 887.6
20 800 EUDD 832 - 862 791 - 821
21 1500 UPDC 1447.9 - 1462.9 1495 - 1510.9
22 3500 3410 - 3490 3510 - 3590
25 1900 EPCS A-G 1850 - 1915 1930 - 1995
26 850 ECLR 814 - 849 859 - 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 Reference Band Name Frequencies
A Lower IMT 1900 - 1920
A Upper IMT 2010 - 2025
B Lower PCS 1850 - 1910
B Upper PCS 1930 - 1990
C PCS duplex gap 1910 - 1930
D IMT-E 2570 - 2620
E 2300 - 2400
F 1880 - 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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