Advanced Wireless Services
AWS-1, also referred to as UMTS band IV or UMTS 1700 (but not UMTS 1700/2100), is a wireless telecommunications spectrum band used for mobile voice and data services, video, and messaging. AWS-1 is used in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Chile and Peru. 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.
The AWS band uses microwave frequencies in two segments: from 1710 to 1755 MHz for uplink, and from 2110 to 2155 MHz for downlink. The service is intended to be used by mobile devices such as wireless phones for mobile data, video, 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 vs. 1920–1980 MHz for UMTS2100).
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 is was the first frequency that LTE was offered over in that country, and was still the most commonly supported frequency for LTE in Canada as of 2014-08-21.
In Canada, Industry Canada held the auction for AWS spectrum in 2008. Wind Mobile has licensed AWS spectrum in every province aside from Quebec, and began offering voice and data services on December 16, 2009. Mobilicity also uses the AWS spectrum and began offering services in May 2010. Quebecor licensed AWS spectrum throughout the province of Quebec and began offering service with its Videotron brand on September 9, 2010.
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. Halifax-based EastLink obtained licenses in eastern Canada, and is currently building up infrastructure to launch mobile phone and data services in Nova Scotia and PEI in 2012.
In the USA, 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. 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 kills 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.
- Eastlink — Feb 2013 in Halifax
- Wind Mobile — December 16, 2009 in Toronto
- Mobilicity — May 15, 2010 in Toronto
- Vidéotron Mobile — September 9, 2010 in Montreal and Québec City
- Rogers Wireless LTE - July 2011
- Bell Mobility LTE - November 2011
- Telus Mobility LTE - February 2012
- SaskTel LTE - January 2013
- TIGO ETB — December 2013 in Bogota, Medellin, Barranquilla, Cali, Pereira, Manizales, Armenia
- Movistar — December 2013 in Bogota, Medellin, Barranquilla, Cali, Pereira, Bucaramanga, Cartagena
- T-Mobile USA — May 1, 2008 in New York City
- Big River Broadband
- i wireless
- Cincinnati Bell
- AWN Alaska
- Mosaic Telecom
- Cricket Wireless
- MetroPCS - March 31, 2008 in Las Vegas
- Verizon Wireless - Fall 2013 starting in New York City.
- VTR — May 2012 until September 2013 (Currently a MVNO using Movistar networks).
- Nextel Chile — April 2012
- List of AWS devices
- Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
- White Spaces Coalition
- UMTS frequency bands
- Industry Canada - Spectrum Management and Telecommunications Auction of Spectrum Licences for Advanced Wireless Services and Other Spectrum in the 2 GHz Range.
- Media Advisory - Quebecor Media and Videotron invite you to the dawn of a new era.
- Shaw Re-thinking Wireless Strategy.
- EastLink Planning To Go Wireless After Success In Spectrum Auction.
- Mosaic Telecom Launches Home Cell Product with Ubiquisys AWS Femtocells.