Advanced Wireless Services

Last updated

Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) is a wireless telecommunications spectrum band used for mobile voice and data services, video, and messaging. AWS is used in the United States, Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Mexico, Chile, Paraguay, Peru, Ecuador, Uruguay and Venezuela. It replaces some of the spectrum formerly allocated to Multipoint Multichannel Distribution Service (MMDS), sometimes referred to as Wireless Cable, that existed from 2150 to 2162 MHz.

United States Federal republic in North America

The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City. Most of the country is located contiguously in North America between Canada and Mexico.

Argentina Federal republic in South America

Argentina, officially the Argentine Republic, is a country located mostly in the southern half of South America. Sharing the bulk of the Southern Cone with Chile to the west, the country is also bordered by Bolivia and Paraguay to the north, Brazil to the northeast, Uruguay and the South Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Drake Passage to the south. With a mainland area of 2,780,400 km2 (1,073,500 sq mi), Argentina is the eighth-largest country in the world, the fourth largest in the Americas, and the largest Spanish-speaking nation. The sovereign state is subdivided into twenty-three provinces and one autonomous city, Buenos Aires, which is the federal capital of the nation as decided by Congress. The provinces and the capital have their own constitutions, but exist under a federal system. Argentina claims sovereignty over part of Antarctica, the Falkland Islands, and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

Canada Country in North America

Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million square kilometres, making it the world's second-largest country by total area. Its southern border with the United States, stretching some 8,891 kilometres (5,525 mi), is the world's longest bi-national land border. Canada's capital is Ottawa, and its three largest metropolitan areas are Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver.


The AWS band uses microwave frequencies in several segments: from 1695 to 2200 MHz. The service is intended to be used by mobile devices such as wireless phones for mobile voice, data, and messaging services. Most manufacturers of smartphone mobile handsets provide versions of their phones that include radios that can communicate using the AWS spectrum. Though initially limited, device support for AWS has steadily improved the longer the band has been in general use, with most high-end and many mid-range handsets supporting it over HSPA, LTE, or both.

Microwave form of electromagnetic radiation

Microwaves are a form of electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths ranging from about one meter to one millimeter; with frequencies between 300 MHz (1 m) and 300 GHz (1 mm). Different sources define different frequency ranges as microwaves; the above broad definition includes both UHF and EHF bands. A more common definition in radio engineering is the range between 1 and 100 GHz. In all cases, microwaves include the entire SHF band at minimum. Frequencies in the microwave range are often referred to by their IEEE radar band designations: S, C, X, Ku, K, or Ka band, or by similar NATO or EU designations.

The electromagnetic spectrum is the range of frequencies of electromagnetic radiation and their respective wavelengths and photon energies.

High Speed Packet Access Communications protocols

High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) is an amalgamation of two mobile protocols, High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) and High Speed Uplink Packet Access (HSUPA), that extends and improves the performance of existing 3G mobile telecommunication networks using the WCDMA protocols. A further improved 3GPP standard, Evolved High Speed Packet Access, was released late in 2008 with subsequent worldwide adoption beginning in 2010. The newer standard allows bit-rates to reach as high as 337 Mbit/s in the downlink and 34 Mbit/s in the uplink. However, these speeds are rarely achieved in practice.


The frequency band covered by the Advanced Wireless Services bands Advanced Wireless Services.svg
The frequency band covered by the Advanced Wireless Services bands

The AWS band defined in 2002 (AWS-1), used microwave frequencies in two segments, from 1710 to 1755 MHz for uplink, and from 2110 to 2155 MHz for downlink. [1] The service is intended to be used by mobile devices such as wireless phones for mobile voice, data, and messaging services. Most manufacturers of smartphone mobile handsets provide versions of their phones that include radios that can communicate using the AWS spectrum. Since for downlink AWS uses a subset of UMTS frequency band I (2100 MHz) some UMTS2100 capable handsets do detect AWS networks but cannot register on them due to the difference in uplink frequencies (1710–1755 MHz for AWS versus 1920–1980 MHz for UMTS2100).

The UMTS frequency bands are radio frequencies used by third generation (3G) wireless Universal Mobile Telecommunications System networks. They were allocated by delegates to the World Administrative Radio Conference (WARC-92) held in Málaga-Torremolinos, Spain between 3 February 1992 and 3 March 1992. Resolution 212 (Rev.WRC-97), adopted at the World Radiocommunication Conference held in Geneva, Switzerland in 1997, endorsed the bands specifically for the International Mobile Telecommunications-2000 (IMT-2000) specification by referring to S5.388, which states "The bands 1,885-2,025 MHz and 2,110-2,200 MHz are intended for use, on a worldwide basis, by administrations wishing to implement International Mobile Telecommunications 2000 (IMT-2000). Such use does not preclude the use of these bands by other services to which they are allocated. The bands should be made available for IMT-2000 in accordance with Resolution 212 ." To accommodate the reality that these initially defined bands were already in use in various regions of the world, the initial allocation has been amended multiple times to include other radio frequency bands.

Though initially limited, device support for AWS has steadily improved the longer the frequency has been in general use, with most high-end and many mid-range handsets supporting it over HSPA, LTE, or both. In Canada, almost all available LTE handsets support AWS as it was the first frequency over which LTE was offered there, and was still the most commonly supported frequency for LTE in Canada as of 2014-08-21.

In telecommunication, Long-Term Evolution (LTE) is a standard for wireless broadband communication for mobile devices and data terminals, based on the GSM/EDGE and UMTS/HSPA technologies. It increases the capacity and speed using a different radio interface together with core network improvements. The standard is developed by the 3GPP and is specified in its Release 8 document series, with minor enhancements described in Release 9. LTE is the upgrade path for carriers with both GSM/UMTS networks and CDMA2000 networks. The different LTE frequencies and bands used in different countries mean that only multi-band phones are able to use LTE in all countries where it is supported.

In 2012 the [FCC] released rules for the 'H' block (AWS-2), covering the frequencies 1915-1920 MHz and 1995-2000 MHz.

In 2013 they regulated the AWS-3 Block, covering bands 1695-1710 MHz, 1755-1780 MHz and 2155-2180 MHz.

In 2012 there was a proposal regarding the AWS-4 Block, which regulated use of 2000-2020 MHz and 2180-2200 MHz. These were initially proposed for use with the Mobile Satellite System (MSS), but later more uses were introduced [2]

The Global Mobile Satellite System (GMSS) consists of several satellite phone providers serving private customers. It can be compared to PLMN and PSTN.


In Canada, Industry Canada held the auction for AWS spectrum in 2008. [3] Freedom Mobile (formerly Wind Mobile) had licensed AWS spectrum in every province, and began offering voice and data services on December 16, 2009. Its Saskatchewan and Manitoba spectrum was later sold off to Sasktel and MTS, respectively. Freedom only operates in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario, although they have roaming agreements with Rogers, Telus and Bell at extra cost.

Freedom Mobile Wireless Service Provider

Freedom Mobile Inc. is a Canadian wireless telecommunications provider owned by Shaw Communications. With 1,578,358 active subscribers in urban areas of Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta, it is Canada's fourth largest mobile network operator with 5% market share.

Mobilicity also used the AWS spectrum and began offering services in May 2010, operating in similar areas as Wind but with a smaller network footprint. Its AWS network was combined with Rogers when the latter company acquired Mobilicity in 2015. [4]

Quebecor licensed AWS spectrum throughout the province of Quebec and began offering service with its Vidéotron Mobile brand on September 9, 2010. [5]

Shaw Communications licensed AWS spectrum in western Canada and northern Ontario, began to build some infrastructure for providing wireless phone service, but subsequently decided to cancel further development and did not launch this service. [6] The licenses were eventually sold to Rogers, with some transferred to Wind. [4] Shaw re-entered the mobile services market when it acquired Wind Mobile in 2016. [7]

Halifax-based EastLink obtained licenses in eastern Canada, [8] with a small amount of spectrum bought in Ontario and Alberta, and is currently building up infrastructure to launch mobile phone and data services in Nova Scotia and PEI in 2012. [9] [10] This Service has since launched and is available in numerous markets around Atlantic Canada with roaming through Rogers and Bell.

Rogers Wireless, Bell Mobility, Telus Mobility, SaskTel, and Manitoba Telecom Services (MTS) all received licenses for AWS spectrum, which they are now using for their LTE networks. Freedom Mobile has subsequently refarmed some spectrum in their UMTS network and deployed LTE on bands 4, and 66.

United States

In the United States, the service is administered by the Federal Communications Commission. The licenses were broken up into 6 blocks (A-F). Block A consisted of 734 Cellular Market Areas (CMA). Blocks B and C were each divided into 176 Economic Areas (EA), sometimes referred to as BEA by the FCC. Blocks D, E, and F were each broken up into 12 Regional Economic Area Groupings (REAG), sometimes referred to as REA by the FCC. [11] [12] Bidding for this new spectrum started on August 9, 2006 and the majority of the frequency blocks were sold to T-Mobile USA to deploy their 3G wireless network in the United States. This move effectively killed the former MMDS and/or Wireless Cable service in the United States.


The following mobile network operators are known to use AWS. Indicated in the list are the launch dates and city.

Antigua and Barbuda



Primary network

Primary network and LTE

LTE only


United States







Dominican Republic


See also

Related Research Articles

Advanced Mobile Phone System

Advanced Mobile Phone System (AMPS) was an analog mobile phone system standard developed by Bell Labs, and officially introduced in the Americas on October 13, 1983, Israel in 1986, Australia in 1987, Singapore in 1988, and Pakistan in 1990. It was the primary analog mobile phone system in North America through the 1980s and into the 2000s. As of February 18, 2008, carriers in the United States were no longer required to support AMPS and companies such as AT&T and Verizon Communications have discontinued this service permanently. AMPS was discontinued in Australia in September 2000, in Pakistan by October 2004,, in Israel by January 2010, and Brazil by 2010.

Ultra high frequency The range 300-3000 MHz of the electromagnetic spectrum

Ultra high frequency (UHF) is the ITU designation for radio frequencies in the range between 300 megahertz (MHz) and 3 gigahertz (GHz), also known as the decimetre band as the wavelengths range from one meter to one tenth of a meter. Radio waves with frequencies above the UHF band fall into the super-high frequency (SHF) or microwave frequency range. Lower frequency signals fall into the VHF or lower bands. UHF radio waves propagate mainly by line of sight; they are blocked by hills and large buildings although the transmission through building walls is strong enough for indoor reception. They are used for television broadcasting, cell phones, satellite communication including GPS, personal radio services including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, walkie-talkies, cordless phones, and numerous other applications.

Integrated Digital Enhanced Network (iDEN) is a mobile telecommunications technology, developed by Motorola, which provides its users the benefits of a trunked radio and a cellular telephone. It was called the first mobile social network by many technology industry analysts. iDEN places more users in a given spectral space, compared to analog cellular and two-way radio systems, by using speech compression and time division multiple access (TDMA).

Bell Mobility Canadian telecommunications company

Bell Mobility Inc. is a Canadian LTE and HSPA+ based wireless provider and the division of Bell Canada which offers wireless services across Canada. Bell Mobility and its affiliates combined have 9.5 million subscribers as of the end of Q3 2018, making it Canada's second largest wireless carrier.

4G is the fourth generation of broadband cellular network technology, succeeding 3G. A 4G system must provide capabilities defined by ITU in IMT Advanced. Potential and current applications include amended mobile web access, IP telephony, gaming services, high-definition mobile TV, video conferencing, and 3D television.

Rogers Wireless Inc. is a Canadian wireless telephone company headquartered in Toronto, providing service nationally throughout Canada. It is Canada’s largest wireless carrier, with 10.8 million subscribers as of Q4 2018, and revenues of just under $15.1 billion in 2018. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Rogers Communications.

GSM frequency bands or frequency ranges are the cellular frequencies designated by the ITU for the operation of GSM mobile phones and other mobile devices.

A spectrum auction is a process whereby a government uses an auction system to sell the rights (licenses) to transmit signals over specific bands of the electromagnetic spectrum and to assign scarce spectrum resources. Depending on the specific auction format used, a spectrum auction can last from a single day to several months from the opening bid to the final winning bid. With a well-designed auction, resources are allocated efficiently to the parties that value them the most, the government securing revenue in the process. Spectrum auctions are a step toward market-based spectrum management and privatization of public airwaves, and are a way for governments to allocate scarce resources. Alternatives to auctions include administrative licensing, such as the comparative hearings conducted historically, or lotteries.

The United States 700 MHz FCC wireless spectrum auction, officially known as Auction 73, was started by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on January 24, 2008 for the rights to operate the 700 MHz radio frequency band in the United States. The details of process were the subject of debate among several telecommunications companies, including Verizon Wireless, AT&T Mobility, as well as the Internet company Google. Much of the debate swirled around the open access requirements set down by the Second Report and Order released by the FCC determining the process and rules for the auction. All bidding was required by law to commence by January 28.

In telecommunications, a multi-band device is a communication device that supports multiple radio frequency bands. All devices which have more than one channel use multiple frequencies; a band however is a group of frequencies containing many channels. Multiple bands in mobile devices support roaming between different regions where different standards are used for mobile telephone services. Where the bands are widely separated in frequency, parallel transmit and receive signal path circuits must be provided, which increases the cost, complexity and power demand of multi-band devices.

3G mobile telephony was relatively slow to be adopted globally. In some instances, 3G networks do not use the same radio frequencies as 2G so mobile operators must build entirely new networks and license entirely new frequencies, especially so to achieve high data transmission rates. Other delays were due to the expenses of upgrading transmission hardware, especially for UMTS, whose deployment required the replacement of most broadcast towers. Due to these issues and difficulties with deployment, many carriers were not able to or delayed acquisition of these updated capabilities.

Eastlink Wireless

Eastlink Wireless is a Canadian mobile network operator owned by Eastlink. Its built network serves the provinces of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, with additional coverage areas provided in New Brunswick, Ontario and Alberta communities as well as Newfoundland.

Cellular frequencies are the sets of frequency ranges within the ultra high frequency band that have been assigned for cellular-compatible mobile devices, such as mobile phones, to connect to cellular networks. Most mobile networks worldwide use portions of the radio frequency spectrum, allocated to the mobile service, for the transmission and reception of their signals. The particular bands may also be shared with other radiocommunication services, e.g. broadcasting service, and fixed service operation.


  1. "RFS - Stay Connected Article". Retrieved 2016-09-24.
  2. Advanced Wireless Services page at FCC. "Advanced Wireless Service (AWS)". About he Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  3. "Auction of Spectrum Licences for Advanced Wireless Services (AWS-1) and Other Spectrum in the 2 GHz Range - Spectrum Management and Telecommunications". Retrieved 2016-09-24.
  4. 1 2 Pellegrini, Christina (24 June 2015). "Rogers Communications Inc gets green lights on Mobilicity deal from courts". Financial Post. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
  5. "Media Advisory - Quebecor Media and Videotron invite you to the dawn of a new era". Retrieved 2016-09-24.
  6. "Shaw rethinking wireless strategy | Toronto Star". 2011-04-13. Retrieved 2016-09-24.
  7. "Shaw enters wireless market with closing of Wind Mobile deal". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  8. "EastLink Planning To Go Wireless After Success In Spectrum Auction". Retrieved 2016-09-24.[ permanent dead link ]
  9. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-11-07. Retrieved 2011-12-24.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. "EastLink launching a "world-class wireless network" in 2012". 2011-07-23. Retrieved 2016-09-24.
  11. "Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) Band Plan" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-09-24.
  12. "A Visual Guide to AWS : Blocks". Phone Scoop. Retrieved 2016-09-24.
  13. Ahumada Rioja, Matías. "Claro lanzará su red 4G recién en junio". La Nación. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
  14. [ dead link ]
  15. Fitchard, Kevin (2014-01-07). "AT&T is bulking up capacity on its LTE network with spectrum buy". Retrieved 2016-09-24.
  16. Aldo Peguero. "Claro encendió hoy su nueva red 4G LTE en República Dominicana |". Retrieved 2016-09-24.
  17. Eustache, Efrain. "Venezuela's Movilnet switches on LTE network". Retrieved 25 November 2018.