Frequencies for Mobile Communications

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OfCom Website



In the UK there are 5 frequency bands made available for mobile phone communication. These bands are regulated by OfCom. These bands are :

  • Band 28 700MHz. to be auctionded off for 5GG
  • Band 20 800MHz. used for 4G
  • Band 8 900MHz. initially used for 2G
  • Band 32 1400MHz. used for 4G by Vodafone and Three
  • Band 3 1800MHz.initially used for 2G
  • Band 1 2.1GHz. used for 3G
  • Band 40 2.3GHz. used for 4G by O2
  • Band 7 2.6GHz. used for 4G.
  • Band 42 3.4GHz. used for 5G.
  • Band 43 3.6GHz. to be auctioned off for 5G.

Initially the band 8 was allocated to Vodafone and O2 for 2G use. Due to their spare capacity, they have been allowed to sue some of this to add to 3G capacity. Band 3 was allocated to T-Mobile and Orange; later merged into EE. For regulatory reasons some of this bandwith was re-allocated to Vodafone and O2. EE persuaded OfCom that they would be allowed to use some of their spare 1800MHz capacity to deliver a 4G network earlier than their competitors.

Band 1 was allocated to 3G and still used for this. As noted above both Vodafone and O2 have used some spare 2G capacity to deliver 3G services

4G was alloced to 2 bands, band 20 and band 7. All mobile operators were allocated band 20 frequencies. Only 2 operators, Vodafone and EE have capacity at the higher frequency Band 7. EE also offer 4G on their spare band 3 frequencies and Three, who were given some Band 3 capacity have also used this to deliver 4G

The first band, 42 was released for 5G and taken up by all 4 operators. Later auctions will release bandwidth on Band 28 and band 43. Due to their purchase of UKBroadband, Three have frequency at 3.6GHz to 40GHz which they plan to use for 5G subject to OfCom approval.

Some physics - frequency of waves makes a difference to how they operate. The higher frequency (2.6GHz) have a short range and are blocked by buildings but can provide a large capacity. These are used in urban environemnts. lower frequencies, such as 800MHz. have a larger range, can penetrate buildings but have a smaller capacity. These are used to provide 4G within solid buildings and in rural environments

2G3G4G
Three 2.1GHz800Mhz 1800MHz
O2900MHz 1800MHz900MHz 2.1GHz800Mhz
Vodafone900MHz 1800MHz900MHz 2.1GHz800Mhz 2.6GHz.
EE1800MHz2.1GHz800Mhz 1800MHz 2.6GHz.

DownlinkUplinkBandwidthOperator
4G bandwidth at 800Mhz
791.0 - 796.0832.0 - 837.02 x 5Three
796.0 - 801.0837.0 - 842.02 x 5EE
801.0 - 811.0842.0 - 852.02 x 10Vodafone
811.0 - 812.0852.0 - 862.02 x 10O2
2G or 3G bandwidth at 900Mhz
925.1 - 930.1880.1 - 885.12 x 5Vodafone
930.1 - 935.1880.1 - 890.12 x 5O2
935.1 - 939.7890.1 - 894.72 x 4.6Vodafone
939.7 - 947.3894.7 - 902.32 x 7.6O2
947.3 - 955.1902.3 - 910.12 x 7.8Vodafone
955.1 - 959.9910.1 - 914.92 x 4.8O2
2G or 4G bandwidth at 1800Mhz
1805.1 - 1810.91710.1 - 1715.92 x 5.8O2
1810.9 - 1816.71715.9 - 1721.72 x 5.8Vodafone
1816.7 - 1831.71721.7 - 1736.72 x 15Three
1831.7 - 1876.71736.7 - 1781.72 x 45EE
3G bandwidth at 2.1Ghz
2110.3 - 2124.91920.3 - 1934.92 x 14.6Three
2124.9 - 2134.91934.9 - 1944.92 x 10O2
2134.9 - 2149.91944.9 - 1959.72 x 14.8Vodafone
2149.9 - 2169.91959.7 - 1979.72 x 20EE
4G bandwidth at 2.6Ghz
2620.0 - 2640.02500.0 - 2520.02 x 20Vodafone
2640.0 - 2655.02520.0 - 2535.02 x 15BT
2655.0 - 2690.02535.0 - 2570.02 x 35EE