3G, also known as third generation mobile telecommunication, allows us to make video calls, watch mobile TV, connect to the internet via high-speed 3G/HSDPA. To offer 3G services, a telco must obtain a 3G license and must operate within the UMTS frequency band/s allocated by the NTC.
UMTS-2100 is the most widely deployed UMTS band. Band numbers are used to identify the UMTS frequencies. For example, Band I (2100 MHz), Band IV (1700/2100 MHz), and Band V (850 MHz). In the Philippines, telcos operate in the Band I (2100 MHz) or Band V (850 MHz) to offer 3G services nationwide.
Band I (W-CDMA 2100)
Band I (W-CDMA 2100) uses 1920–1980 MHz to send information from the mobile station to the base station (uplink) and 2110–2170 MHz for the other direction (downlink). Band I (2100 MHz) can accommodate more subscribers than Band V (850 MHz) but it has lesser coverage. Initially, only 4 telecom operators were given frequency assignments on Band I (W-CDMA 2100); Globe, Smart, Sun Cellular (Digitel) and Umobile (CURE).
|Band I (W-CDMA 2100)|
|Smart||1920-1935/2110-2125 MHz||15 MHz|
|Digitel||1935-1945/2125-2135 MHz||10 MHz|
|Globe||1945-1955/2135-2145 MHz||10 MHz|
|CURE||1955-1965/2145-2155 MHz||10 MHz|
In December 2005, the NTC awarded four out of five 3G licenses to Smart, Globe, Digitel and to a new entrant, Connectivity Unlimited Resources Enterprises, or CURE.
Smart received the largest radio frequency allocation of 15 MHz as well as first choice of frequency spectrum as a result of ranking the highest among the competing operators on a grading system conducted by the NTC.
Smart got a perfect score on a 30-point grading system designed to gauge the capability of telecommunication operators to effectively provide extensive 3G services. Smart chose the 1920-1935 MHz and 2110-2125 MHz spectrums.
After the acquisition of Digitel, PLDT now owns a total of 25 MHz in the 2100 MHz frequency band. Globe only has 10 Mhz.
Band V (W-CDMA 850) / AMPS 800
AMPS cellular service operated in the 800 MHz band (824-849 and 869-894 MHz). In 1991, 800 MHz band is used for AMPS. Piltel and Extelcom were the only telcos offering cellular phone services using AMPS standard.
But in UMTS, the bands 824-849 and 869-894 MHz are labelled as 850 Mhz or Band V (W-CDMA 850). It uses 824-849 MHz to send information from the mobile station to the base station (uplink) and 869-894 MHz for the other direction (downlink). Band V (850 MHz) has wider coverage and has better building penetration than Band I (2100 MHz) .
|AMPS 800 (Year 1991)|
|Piltel||824-835/869-880 MHz||11 MHz|
|845-846.5/890-891.5 MHz||1.5 MHz|
|Extelcom||835-845/880-890 MHz||10 MHz|
On August 23, 2005, the NTC issued Memorandum Circular No. 07-08-2005 or the Rules and Regulations on the Allocation and Assignment of 3G Radio Frequency Bands, allocating the 825-845MHz/870-890MHz frequency bands for 3G.
On March 6, 2008, Piltel’s frequency band 825-835/870-880 MHz were reassigned to Smart for additional 3G use.
NTC approved the transfer of Piltel’s remaining frequencies to SBI (Smart Broadband Inc.) on January 8, 2010. Piltel is now PCEV (PLDT and Energy Ventures Inc.)
|Band V (W-CDMA 850) / AMPS 800|
|SBI||824-825/869-870 MHz||1 MHz||AMPS/CDMA; transferred from Piltel to SBI in 2010|
|845-846.5/890-891.5 MHz||1.5 MHz||AMPS/CDMA; transferred from Piltel to SBI in 2010|
|Smart||825-835/870-880 MHz||10 MHz||transferred from Piltel to Smart then converted to 3G in 2008|
|Extelcom||835-845/880-890 MHz||10 MHz||AMPS|
After the acquisition of Digitel, PLDT now owns a total of 35 MHz in both 850 and 2100 MHz frequency bands. Globe only has 10 Mhz.
|Band I (W-CDMA 2100)||Band V (W-CDMA 850)||Total|
|Smart||15 MHz||10 MHz||25 MHz|
|Digitel||10 MHz||-||10 MHz|
|Globe||10 MHz||-||10 MHz|
|CURE||10 MHz||-||10 MHz|
|Smart and Digitel||25 MHz||10 MHz||35 MHz|
|Winner||Smart and Digitel||Smart and Digitel||Smart and Digitel|