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What are 4G LTE Frequency Bands?

Each cellular network is designed to meet the increasing demands of users better than ever. People heavily rely on wireless networks for connectivity and communication. Cellular networks allow them to enjoy different desirable services including video streaming, virtual conferences, and fast downloading/uploading over high data rate, larger frequency band, and security collaboration. The increase in user demands has led to the emergence of new cellular generations one after the other. 4G LTE, standardized by 3GPP, has become a highly flexible and accommodating network that allows network operators to fulfill the customer demands efficiently.

We have introduced what is 4G LTE in detail before, now this article provides a detailed overview of 4G LTE and what are its frequency bands. Also, it sheds light over the 5G spectrum in comparison to 4G spectrum. So, let’s begin:

What is 4G LTE

4G LTE is the next cellular generation after the 3G networks i.e. Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS). LTE stands for Long Term Evolution which is the worldwide standard used for 4G wireless data transmissions.

4G LTE was introduced in the year 2008, bringing along various features that 3G networks failed to provide such as high speed data rate (up to 100Mbps theoretically and 15Mbps practically), low latency enabling Voice over IP (VoIP) services, increased bandwidth, and broadband access. 4G LTE is a successful network globally with 6.6 billion subscriptions, connecting two-third of network users all across the world.

What are 4G LTE Bands?

LTE bands are defined as the blocks of frequencies used for transmitting data from one place to another. These bands are denoted by a single number, for example LTE Band 1 is stated to consist of 2100 MHz frequency but it contains a range of frequencies from 1920 MHz to 1980 MHz for uplink transmissions and from 2110 MHz to 2170MHz for downlink transmissions. Moreover, the range of frequencies in each band can change from one geographic location to another depending upon the spectrum band allocation performed by the local governments.

FDD and TDD LTE Bands

The frequency spectrums in wireless communication are of two types: FDD and TDD. Let’s discuss each one in detail below:

What is FDD Band

It stands for frequency division duplexing (FDD) which uses paired spectrum. Paired spectrum means it has two separate and equal frequency bands for uplink transmission and downlink transmission. For example, a mobile phone is a FDD-based user device that allows both parties to talk simultaneously, as it provides separate frequency bands for uplink and downlink data transfer.

What is TDD Band

It stands for time division duplexing (TDD) which uses an unpaired spectrum. Unpaired spectrum means a single frequency band is used for both uplink and downlink transmissions but with time separation. For example, walkie talkie is a TDD-based device that allows only one person to talk at a time, providing a single frequency band for data transfer.

The LTE bands allocated to FDD and TDD are different but they may overlap. It is a UE’s responsibility to detect which transmission mode is being selected on a given band in that particular location i.e. either FDD or TDD. The frequency bands of 4G LTE are assigned different numbers. Like, the LTE bands from 1 to 22 are allocated to FDD and the bands from 33 to 41 are allocated to TDD.

FDD LTE Frequency Band Allocation

The enhancement in carrier aggregation technique has resulted in various new bands such as B29, B32, B67, and B69 used for carrier-aggregation in downlink transmission only. The FDD LTE frequency band allocation is shown in the table below:

LTE Band NumberUplink Band (MHz)Downlink Band (MHz)Band Width (MHz)Duplex Spacing (MHz)Band Gap (MHz)
LTE Band 11920 – 19802110 – 217060190130
LTE Band 21850 – 19101930 – 1990608020
LTE Band 31710 – 17851805 – 1880759520
LTE Band 41710 – 17552110 – 215545400355
LTE Band 5824 – 849869 – 894254520
LTE Band 6830 – 840875 – 885103525
LTE Band 72500 – 25702620 – 26907012050
LTE Band 8880 – 915925 – 960354510
LTE Band 91749.9 – 1784.91844.9 – 1879.9359560
LTE Band 101710 – 17702110 – 217060400340
LTE Band 111427.9 – 1452.91475.9 – 1500.9204828
LTE Band 12698 – 716728 – 746183012
LTE Band 13777 – 787746 – 75610-3141
LTE Band 14788 – 798758 – 76810-3040
LTE Band 151900 – 19202600 – 262020700680
LTE Band 162010 – 20252585 – 260015575560
LTE Band 17704 – 716734 – 746123018
LTE Band 18815 – 830860 – 875154530
LTE Band 19830 – 845875 – 890154530
LTE Band 20832 – 862791 – 82130-4171
LTE Band 211447.9 – 1462.91495.5 – 1510.9154833
LTE Band 223410 – 35003510 – 36009010010
LTE Band 232000 – 20202180 – 220020180160
LTE Band 241625.5 – 1660.51525 – 155934-101.5135.5
LTE Band 251850 – 19151930 – 1995658015
LTE Band 26814 – 849859 – 89430 / 4010
LTE Band 27807 – 824852 – 869174528
LTE Band 28703 – 748758 – 803455510
LTE Band 29717 -72811
LTE Band 302305 – 23152350 – 2360104535
LTE Band 31452.5 – 457.5462.5 – 467.55105
LTE Band 321452 – 149644
LTE Band 651920 – 20102110 – 220090190100
LTE Band 661710 – 17802110 – 220070/90400330
LTE Band 67738 – 75820
LTE Band 68698 – 728753 – 783305525
LTE Band 692570 – 2620505
LTE Band 701695 – 17101995 – 202015/25300285
LTE Band 71663 – 698617 – 6523546
LTE Band 72451 – 456461 – 4665105
LTE Band 73450 – 455460 – 4655105
LTE Band 741427 – 14701475 – 151843485
LTE Band 751432 – 151785
LTE Band 761427 – 14325
LTE Band 85698 – 716728 – 746183012
LTE Band 87410 – 415420 – 4255105
LTE Band 88412 – 417422 – 4275105

TDD LTE Frequency Band Allocation

There were many asymmetric demands for downlink data which led to the introduction of Band 46 that operates in the U-NII 5GHz frequency range. The Band 47 is introduced for Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) communication and other such application in the U-NII-3 5GHz unlicensed frequency band, allowing super-fast connection between vehicles and the surrounding devices for efficient, safe, and smart traffic flow. The TDD LTE frequency band allocation is shown in the table below:

LTE Band NumberFrequencyBandwidth (MHz)
LTE Band 331900 – 1920 MHz20
LTE Band 342010 – 2025 MHz15
LTE Band 351850 – 1910 MHz60
LTE Band 361930 – 1990 MHz60
LTE Band 371910 – 1930 MHz20
LTE Band 382570 – 2620 MHz50
LTE Band 391880 – 1920 MHz40
LTE Band 402300 – 2400 MHz100
LTE Band 412496 – 2690 MHz194
LTE Band 423400 – 3600 MHz200
LTE Band 433600 – 3800 MHz200
LTE Band 44703 – 803 MHz100
LTE Band 451447 – 1467 MHz20
LTE Band 465150 – 5925 MHz775
LTE Band 475855 – 5925 MHz70
LTE Band 483550 – 3700 MHz150
LTE Band 501432 – 1517 MHz85
LTE Band 511427 – 1432 MHz5
LTE Band 523300 – 3400 MHz100
LTE Band 532483.5 – 2495 MHz11.5

4G LTE vs 5G Spectrum

With the emergence of 4G network, new frequency bands were added that ranged between 600 MHz and 2.5 GHz (including 600 MHz, 700 MHz, 1.7/2.1 GHz, 2.3 GHz, and 2.5 GHz). The frequency spectrum for 5G is planned a bit differently as it comprises of various new technologies that operate at different frequencies. The sub-6 spectrum of 5G ranging between 450 MHz to 6 GHz and 24 GHz to 52 GHz are allocated to the millimeter Wave (mmWave) technology that operates at ultra-high frequency range for communication in short range. Moreover, along with sub-6 spectrum range and above it, the cellular frequency bands used in previous networks will also be a part of 5G.

4G LTE Bands Overview

Since the introduction of cellular networks, the user demands had been increasing immensely for more data rate, capacity, and lower latency. This led to the increase in number of bands and spectrum for accommodating more users and data traffic in the network simultaneously.

The 4G LTE band allocation is different across the globe due to different government authorities in different countries. There may be seen overlap between the bands but this all depends upon the availability of frequency bands in different regions. This also explains the fact that many users often face service limitations while using LTE devices as not all devices are able to access the same frequencies.

Conclusion

In this article, you learned about the 4G LTE networks and their useful features. 4G LTE is successfully being used in majority of the countries, whereas, some developed countries like Europe, United States, China, and Japan, have already started deploying 5G. This article also explains the concept of LTE bands with FDD and TDD bands in particular. 4G LTE band allocation is performed with respect to FDD and TDD techniques. Both bands provide high communication capacity to users. Then, a comparison between 4G LTE spectrum and 5G spectrum is done which gives an overview of the frequency spectrum to be used in 5G for long-range and short range communication technologies.

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