GSM frequency bands

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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.

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.

International Telecommunication Union Specialised agency of the United Nations

The International Telecommunication Union, originally the International Telegraph Union, is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) that is responsible for issues that concern information and communication technologies. It is the oldest among all the 15 specialised agencies of UN.

GSM standard to describe protocols for second generation digital cellular networks used by mobile phones

The Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) is a standard developed by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) to describe the protocols for second-generation (2G) digital cellular networks used by mobile devices such as mobile phones and tablets. It was first deployed in Finland in December 1991.By the mid-2010s, it became a global standard for mobile communications achieving over 90% market share, and operating in over 193 countries and territories.


GSM frequency bands
GSM band ƒ (MHz)Uplink (MHz)
(mobile to base)
Downlink (MHz)
(base to mobile)
Channel numbersEquivalent
LTE band
Regional deployments
T-GSM-380 [lower-alpha 1] 380380.2 – 389.8390.2 – 399.8dynamicNoneNone
T-GSM-410 [lower-alpha 1] 410410.2 – 419.8420.2 – 429.8dynamicNoneNone
GSM-450450450.6 – 457.6460.6 – 467.6259–29331None
GSM-480480479.0 – 486.0489.0 – 496.0306–340NoneNone
GSM-710710698.2 – 716.2728.2 – 746.2dynamic12None
GSM-750750777.2 – 792.2747.2 – 762.2438–511NoneNone
T-GSM-810 [lower-alpha 1] 810806.2 – 821.2851.2 – 866.2dynamic27None
GSM-850850824.2 – 848.8869.2 – 893.8128–2515CALA, [lower-alpha 2] NAR [lower-alpha 3]
P-GSM-900 [lower-alpha 4] 900890.0 – 915.0935.0 – 960.01–1248 (subset)None
E-GSM-900 [lower-alpha 5] 900880.0 – 915.0925.0 – 960.00–124, 975–10238 APAC, [lower-alpha 6] EMEA [lower-alpha 7]
R-GSM-900 [lower-alpha 8] 900876.0 – 915.0921.0 – 960.00–124, 955–1023? APAC, [lower-alpha 6] EMEA [lower-alpha 7]
used for GSM-R
T-GSM-900 [lower-alpha 1] 900870.4 – 876.0915.4 – 921.0dynamicNoneNone
DCS-1800 [lower-alpha 9] 18001710.2 – 1784.81805.2 – 1879.8512–8853 APAC, [lower-alpha 6] EMEA [lower-alpha 7]
PCS-1900 [lower-alpha 10] 19001850.2 – 1909.81930.2 – 1989.8512–8102CALA, [lower-alpha 2] NAR [lower-alpha 3]
  1. 1 2 3 4 T-GSM is Trunking-GSM.
  2. 1 2 CALA: Canada, US, Caribbean, and Latin America
  3. 1 2 NAR: North American Region
  4. P-GSM is the standard or primary GSM-900 band
  5. E-GSM is the extended GSM-900 band: a superset of the standard GSM-900 band.
  6. 1 2 3 APAC: Asia-Pacific
  7. 1 2 3 EMEA: Europe, the Middle East and Africa
  8. R-GSM, or GSM-R, is the Railways GSM-900 band, which also includes the standard and extended GSM-900 bands.
  9. DCS: Digital Cellular System
  10. PCS: Personal Communications Service

GSM frequency usage around the world

A dual-band 900/1800 device is required to be compatible with most networks apart from deployments in ITU-Region 2.

GSM-900, EGSM/EGSM-900 and GSM-1800

GSM-900 and GSM-1800 are used in most parts of the world (ITU-Regions 1 and 3): Africa, Europe, Middle East, Asia (apart from Japan and South Korea where GSM has never been introduced) and Oceania.

Africa The second largest and second most-populous continent, mostly in the Northern and Eastern Hemispheres

Africa is the world's second largest and second most-populous continent, being behind Asia in both categories. At about 30.3 million km2 including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of Earth's total surface area and 20% of its land area. With 1.2 billion people as of 2016, it accounts for about 16% of the world's human population. The continent is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Isthmus of Suez and the Red Sea to the northeast, the Indian Ocean to the southeast and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. The continent includes Madagascar and various archipelagos. It contains 54 fully recognised sovereign states (countries), nine territories and two de facto independent states with limited or no recognition. The majority of the continent and its countries are in the Northern Hemisphere, with a substantial portion and number of countries in the Southern Hemisphere.

Europe Continent in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere

Europe is a continent located entirely in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere. It is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia.

Middle East region that encompasses Western Asia and Egypt

The Middle East is a transcontinental region centered on Western Asia, Turkey, and Egypt. Saudi Arabia is geographically the largest Middle Eastern nation while Bahrain is the smallest. The corresponding adjective is Middle Eastern and the derived noun is Middle Easterner. The term has come into wider usage as a replacement of the term Near East beginning in the early 20th century.

In common GSM-900 is most widely used. Fewer operators use GSM-1800. Mobile Communication Services on Aircraft (MCA) uses GSM-1800. [1]

In the U.S., Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations prohibit the use of mobile phones aboard aircraft in flight. Contrary to popular misconception, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) does not actually prohibit the use of personal electronic devices on aircraft. Paragraph (b)(5) of 14 CFR 91.21 leaves it up to the airlines to determine if devices can be used in flight, allowing use of "Any other portable electronic device that the operator of the aircraft has determined will not cause interference with the navigation or communication system of the aircraft on which it is to be used."

In some countries GSM-1800 is also referred to as "Digital Cellular System" (DCS).

GSM-850 and GSM-1900

GSM-1900 and GSM-850 are used in most of North, South and Central America (ITU-Region 2). In North America, GSM operates on the primary mobile communication bands 850 MHz and 1900 MHz. In Canada, GSM-1900 is the primary band used in urban areas with 850 as a backup, and GSM-850 being the primary rural band. In the United States, regulatory requirements determine which area can use which band.

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. Canada's southern border with the United States, stretching some 8,891 kilometres (5,525 mi), is the world's longest bi-national land border. Its capital is Ottawa, and its three largest metropolitan areas are Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. As a whole, Canada is sparsely populated, the majority of its land area being dominated by forest and tundra. Consequently, its population is highly urbanized, with over 80 percent of its inhabitants concentrated in large and medium-sized cities, with 70% of citizens residing within 100 kilometres (62 mi) of the southern border. Canada's climate varies widely across its vast area, ranging from arctic weather in the north, to hot summers in the southern regions, with four distinct seasons.

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's 3.9 million square miles. 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 largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.

The term Cellular is sometimes used to describe GSM services in the 850 MHz band, because the original analog cellular mobile communication system was allocated in this spectrum. Further GSM-850 is also sometimes called GSM-800 because this frequency range was known as the "800 MHz band" (for simplification) when it was first allocated for AMPS in the United States in 1983. In North America GSM-1900 is also referred to as Personal Communications Service (PCS) like any other cellular system operating on the "1900 MHz band".

An analog signal is any continuous signal for which the time-varying feature (variable) of the signal is a representation of some other time varying quantity, i.e., analogous to another time varying signal. For example, in an analog audio signal, the instantaneous voltage of the signal varies continuously with the pressure of the sound waves. It differs from a digital signal, in which the continuous quantity is a representation of a sequence of discrete values which can only take on one of a finite number of values. The term analog signal usually refers to electrical signals; however, mechanical, pneumatic, hydraulic, human speech, and other systems may also convey or be considered analog signals.

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.

North America Continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere

North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere; it is also considered by some to be a northern subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the west and south by the Pacific Ocean, and to the southeast by South America and the Caribbean Sea.

Frequency mixing between GSM 900/1800 and GSM 850/1900

Some countries in Central and South America have allocated spectrum in the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands for GSM in addition to the common GSM deployments at 850 MHz and 1900 MHz for ITU-Region 2 (Americas). The result therefore is a mixture of usage in the Americas that requires travelers to confirm that the devices they have are compatible with the bands of the network at their destination. Frequency compatibility problems can be avoided through the use of multi-band (tri-band or, especially, quad-band) device.

In telecommunication, the term frequency compatibility has the following meanings:

The following countries are mixing GSM 900/1800 and GSM 850/1900 bands: [2]

Countries that mix GSM 900/1800 and GSM 850/1900 bands
Caribbean Antigua and Barbuda Green check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgDark Red x.svg
Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao Dark Red x.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svg
Barbados Dark Red x.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svg
British Virgin Islands Green check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svg
Cayman Islands Green check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svg
Dominica Green check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgDark Red x.svg
Dominican Republic Green check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svg
Grenada Green check.svgDark Red x.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svg
Haiti Green check.svgDark Red x.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svg
Jamaica Dark Red x.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svg
Saint Kitts and Nevis Green check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svg
Saint Lucia Green check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svg
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Green check.svgDark Red x.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svg
Trinidad and Tobago Green check.svgGreen check.svgDark Red x.svgGreen check.svg
Turks and Caicos Islands Green check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svg
Costa Rica Green check.svgDark Red x.svgDark Red x.svgGreen check.svg
El Salvador Green check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgDark Red x.svg
Guatemala Green check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgDark Red x.svg
Brazil Green check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svg
Uruguay Green check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svg
Venezuela Green check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svgGreen check.svg


Another less common GSM version is GSM-450. [3] It uses the same band as, and can co-exist with, old analog NMT systems. NMT is a first generation (1G) mobile system which was primarily used in Nordic countries, Benelux, Alpine Countries, Eastern Europe and Russia prior to the introduction of GSM. The GSM Association claims one of its around 680 operator-members has a license to operate a GSM 450 network in Tanzania. However, currently all active public operators in Tanzania use GSM 900/1800 MHz. There are no publicly advertised handsets for GSM-450 available.

Very few NMT-450 networks remain in operation. Overall, where the 450 MHz NMT band has been licensed, the original analogue network has been closed, and sometimes replaced by CDMA. Some of the CDMA networks have since upgraded from CDMA to LTE (LTE band 31).

Multi-band and multi-mode phones

Today, most telephones support multiple bands as used in different countries to facilitate roaming. These are typically referred to as multi-band phones. Dual-band phones can cover GSM networks in pairs such as 900 and 1800 MHz frequencies (Europe, Asia, Australia and Brazil) or 850 and 1900 (North America and Brazil). European tri-band phones typically cover the 900, 1800 and 1900 bands giving good coverage in Europe and allowing limited use in North America, while North American tri-band phones utilize 850, 1800 and 1900 for widespread North American service but limited worldwide use. A new addition has been the quad-band phone, also known as a World Phone, [4] supporting at least all four major GSM bands, allowing for global use (excluding non-GSM countries such as Japan, South Korea and as well countries where 2G system was shut down to release frequencies and spectrum for LTE networks like Australia (since 2017),Singapoore and Taiwan (since 2018).

There are also multi-mode phones which can operate on GSM as well as on other mobile phone systems using other technical standards or proprietary technologies. Often these phones use multiple frequency bands as well. For example, one version of the Nokia 6340i GAIT phone sold in North America can operate on GSM-1900, GSM-850 and legacy TDMA-1900, TDMA-800, and AMPS-800, making it both multi-mode and multi-band. As a more recent example the Apple iPhone 5 and iPhone 4S support quad-band GSM at 850/900/1800/1900 MHz, quad-band UMTS/HSDPA/HSUPA at 850/900/1900/2100 MHz, and dual-band CDMA EV-DO Rev. An at 800/1900 MHz, for a total of 'six' different frequencies (though at most four in a single mode). This allows the same handset to be sold for AT&T Mobility, Verizon, and Sprint in the U.S. as well as a broad range of GSM carriers worldwide such as Vodafone, Orange and T-Mobile (Excluding-US), many of whom offer official unlocking.

See also

Related Research Articles

At the most basic level, Personal Communications Service (PCS) describes a set of communications capabilities which allows some combination of terminal mobility, personal mobility, and service profile management. More specifically, PCS refers to any of several types of wireless voice or wireless data communications systems, typically incorporating digital technology, providing services similar to advanced cellular mobile or paging services. In addition, PCS can also be used to provide other wireless communications services, including services which allow people to place and receive communications while away from their home or office, as well as wireless communications to homes, office buildings and other fixed havelocations. Described in more commercial terms, PCS is a generation of wireless-phone technology that combines a range of features and services surpassing those available in analog- and digital-cellular phone systems, providing a user with an all-in-one wireless phone, paging, messaging, and data service.

The Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) is a third generation mobile cellular system for networks based on the GSM standard. Developed and maintained by the 3GPP, UMTS is a component of the International Telecommunications Union IMT-2000 standard set and compares with the CDMA2000 standard set for networks based on the competing cdmaOne technology. UMTS uses wideband code division multiple access (W-CDMA) radio access technology to offer greater spectral efficiency and bandwidth to mobile network operators.

3G, short for third generation, is the third generation of wireless mobile telecommunications technology. It is the upgrade for 2G and 2.5G GPRS networks, for faster internet speed. This is based on a set of standards used for mobile devices and mobile telecommunications use services and networks that comply with the International Mobile Telecommunications-2000 (IMT-2000) specifications by the International Telecommunication Union. 3G finds application in wireless voice telephony, mobile Internet access, fixed wireless Internet access, video calls and mobile TV.

Nordic Mobile Telephone

NMT is the first fully automatic cellular phone system. It was specified by Nordic telecommunications administrations (PTTs) and opened for service on 1 October 1981 as a response to the increasing congestion and heavy requirements of the manual mobile phone networks: ARP (150 MHz) in Finland, MTD (450 MHz) in Sweden and Denmark, and OLT in Norway.

The 3rd Generation Partnership Project 2 (3GPP2) is a collaboration between telecommunications associations to make a globally applicable third generation (3G) mobile phone system specification within the scope of the ITU's IMT-2000 project. In practice, 3GPP2 is the standardization group for CDMA2000, the set of 3G standards based on the earlier cdmaOne 2G CDMA technology.

Cellular network communication network where the last link is wireless

A cellular network or mobile network is a communication network where the last link is wireless. The network is distributed over land areas called cells, each served by at least one fixed-location transceiver, but more normally three cell sites or base transceiver stations. These base stations provide the cell with the network coverage which can be used for transmission of voice, data, and other types of content. A cell typically uses a different set of frequencies from neighbouring cells, to avoid interference and provide guaranteed service quality within each cell.

Adaptive Multi-Rate Wideband (AMR-WB) is a patented wideband speech audio coding standard developed based on Adaptive Multi-Rate encoding, using similar methodology as algebraic code excited linear prediction (ACELP). AMR-WB provides improved speech quality due to a wider speech bandwidth of 50–7000 Hz compared to narrowband speech coders which in general are optimized for POTS wireline quality of 300–3400 Hz. AMR-WB was developed by Nokia and VoiceAge and it was first specified by 3GPP.

Vodafone New Zealand is a telecommunications company operating in New Zealand; it is a subsidiary of the London-listed company Vodafone Plc. It is New Zealand's largest mobile phone operator, based in Auckland, and was formed in 1998, after Vodafone purchased BellSouth's New Zealand operations. The company employs over 3,000 people and has operations nationwide, with its main offices based in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. The company is part of New Zealand Telecommunications Forum.

The Mobile Application Part (MAP) is an SS7 protocol that provides an application layer for the various nodes in GSM and UMTS mobile core networks and GPRS core networks to communicate with each other in order to provide services to users. The Mobile Application Part is the application-layer protocol used to access the Home Location Register, Visitor Location Register, Mobile Switching Center, Equipment Identity Register, Authentication Centre, Short message service center and Serving GPRS Support Node (SGSN).

América Móvil multinational telecommunications company

América Móvil is a Mexican telecommunications corporation headquartered in Mexico City, Mexico. It is the eighth largest mobile network operator in terms of equity subscribers and one of the largest corporations in the world. América Móvil is a Forbes Global 2000 company. As of Q1, 2019, América Móvil had 277.4 million wireless subscribers, and 84.3 million fixed revenue generating units.


The Radio Telephone Network C, was a first generation analog cellular phone system deployed and operated in Germany by DeTeMobil. It utilized the C450 standard and was the third and last update of a series of analog mobile phone systems used primarily within Germany, superseding the B-Netz and the A-Netz before it. It has been decommissioned, replaced by both the newer D-Netz (GSM-900) and E-Netz (GSM-1800) systems.

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.

HTC Touch Pro smartphone model

The HTC Touch Pro is a smart phone from the Touch series of Internet-enabled Windows Mobile Pocket PC smartphones designed and marketed by HTC Corporation of Taiwan. It is an enhanced version of the HTC Touch Diamond with the addition of a left-side slide-out QWERTY keyboard, a microSD card slot, and a camera flash. The Touch Pro smartphone's functions include those of a camera phone and a portable media player in addition to text messaging and multimedia messaging. It also offers Internet services including e-mail, instant messaging, web browsing, and local Wi-Fi connectivity. Depending on its market, it is a quad-band GSM or quad-band UMTS phone with GPRS, EDGE, UMTS, HSDPA, and HSUPA or a tri-band CDMA phone with 1xEV-DO Rev A. All versions feature TouchFLO 3D — a new enhanced version of the TouchFLO interface, unique only to the latest Touch series. In March 2009, HTC announced a new version, the Touch Pro2 which has a larger screen (3.6") and a redesigned slide out QWERTY keyboard with spaces between the keys.

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.

Nokia E75 mobile phone

The Nokia E75 is a smartphone from the Eseries range with a side sliding QWERTY keyboard and also front keypad.

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.

Alcatel One Touch Fire mobile phone model

The Alcatel One Touch Fire is one of the first generation of smartphones preinstalled with Firefox OS, an open-source mobile operating system developed by Mozilla.


  1. EUROPA - PRESS RELEASES - Press release - Commission Decisions on Mobile Communication Services on Aircraft - Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved on 2013-09-18.
  2. "GSM Bands information by country". 2016-01-16. Retrieved 2016-02-06.
  3. Ericsson, Nokia Eye 450 MHz GSM technology
  4. "International Cell Phones". Cellhire. Retrieved 3 September 2013.