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Advanced Wireless Services

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Advanced Wireless Services

AWS-1, often incorrectly stated as 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, Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Mexico, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. 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.[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 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 over which LTE was offered 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.[2] Wind Mobile has licensed AWS spectrum in every province aside from Quebec, and began offering voice and data services on December 16, 2009. Wind only operates in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario, although they have roaming agreements with Rogers and Telus at extra cost.

Mobilicity also uses the AWS spectrum and began offering services in May 2010, operating in similar areas as Wind but with a smaller network footprint. Roaming is with Rogers.

Quebecor licensed AWS spectrum throughout the province of Quebec and began offering service with its Videotron brand on September 9, 2010.[3]

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.[4]

Halifax-based EastLink obtained licenses in eastern Canada,[5] 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.[6][7] 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.

United States

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.[8][9] 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, NS.
  • Wind Mobile — December 16, 2009 in Toronto, ON. Has since expanded coverage to include Ottawa, Peterborough, Windsor, Hamilton, London, Kitchener/Waterloo and St. Catharines, ON; Calgary, Edmonton, Sherwood Park, Fort Saskatchewan and St. Albert, AB; Vancouver and the GVRD (Greater Vancouver Regional District), Abottsford and Whistler, BC.
  • Mobilicity — May 15, 2010 in Toronto, ON. Has since expanded to include service in Ottawa, ON; Edmonton and Calgary, AB; Vancouver, BC. Mobilicity went into bankruptcy protection in 2013. In 2015, Mobilicity was sold to Rogers Wireless in a move to acquire additional unused AWS-1 spectrum from Shaw Cable. To facilitate increased Canadian telecom competition, most of Mobilicitys AWS-1 spectrum was sold to Wind Mobile, along with some of Shaw Cables spectrum. Rogers will operate Mobilicity as a sub-brand using Rogers other spectrum holdings.
  • Vidéotron Mobile — September 9, 2010 in Montreal and Québec City, QC.
  • Rogers Wireless LTE - July 2011
  • Bell Mobility LTE - November 2011
  • Telus Mobility LTE - February 2012
  • SaskTel LTE - January 2013


  • Tigo-ETB — December 2013 in Bogotá, Medellín, Barranquilla, Cali, Pereira, Manizales, Armenia
  • Movistar — December 2013 in Bogotá, Medellín, Barranquilla, Cali, Pereira, Bucaramanga, Cartagena

United States


  • Nextel Chile — April 2012 to June 2015
  • WOM Chile — July 2015






Dominican Republic


  • Movistar February 2015

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ Industry Canada - Spectrum Management and Telecommunications Auction of Spectrum Licences for Advanced Wireless Services and Other Spectrum in the 2 GHz Range.
  3. ^ Media Advisory - Quebecor Media and Videotron invite you to the dawn of a new era.
  4. ^ Shaw Re-thinking Wireless Strategy.
  5. ^ EastLink Planning To Go Wireless After Success In Spectrum Auction.
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ Mosaic Telecom Launches Home Cell Product with Ubiquisys AWS Femtocells.
  11. ^ [1].
  12. ^

External links

  • FCC: Advanced Wireless Services
  • PhoneScoop's Visual Guide to AWS
  • Wind Mobile – FAQ on phone compatibility
  • GSM Arena: AWS equipment list
  • [2]
  • [3]
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