Advanced Wireless Services

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 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 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 (now Freedom Mobile) has licensed AWS spectrum in every province aside from Quebec, and began offering voice and data services on December 16, 2009. Freedom only operates in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario, although they have roaming agreements with Rogers, Telus and Bell at extra cost.

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.[3]

Quebecor licensed AWS spectrum throughout the province of Quebec and began offering service with its Vidéotron Mobile brand on September 9, 2010.[4]

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.[5] The licenses were eventually sold to Rogers, with some transferred to Wind.[3] Shaw re-entered the mobile services market when it acquired Wind Mobile in 2016.[6]

Halifax-based EastLink obtained licenses in eastern Canada,[7] 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.[8][9] 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 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.[10][11] 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


  1. "RFS - Stay Connected Article". Retrieved 2016-09-24.
  2. "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.
  3. 1 2 Pellegrini, Christina (24 June 2015). "Rogers Communications Inc gets green lights on Mobilicity deal from courts". Financial Post. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
  4. "Media Advisory - Quebecor Media and Videotron invite you to the dawn of a new era". Retrieved 2016-09-24.
  5. "Shaw rethinking wireless strategy | Toronto Star". 2011-04-13. Retrieved 2016-09-24.
  6. "Shaw enters wireless market with closing of Wind Mobile deal". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  7. "EastLink Planning To Go Wireless After Success In Spectrum Auction". Retrieved 2016-09-24.
  8. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-11-07. Retrieved 2011-12-24.
  9. "EastLink launching a "world-class wireless network" in 2012". 2011-07-23. Retrieved 2016-09-24.
  10. "Advanced Wireless Services (AWS) Band Plan" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-09-24.
  11. "A Visual Guide to AWS : Blocks". Phone Scoop. Retrieved 2016-09-24.
  12. Fitchard, Kevin (2014-01-07). "AT&T is bulking up capacity on its LTE network with spectrum buy". Retrieved 2016-09-24.
  13. Aldo Peguero. "Claro encendió hoy su nueva red 4G LTE en República Dominicana |". Retrieved 2016-09-24.

External links

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