Universal Mobile Telecommunications System

The Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS ) is a wireless standard for third generation (3G), with significantly higher data transfer rates (up to 42 Mbit / s HSPA , otherwise max. 384 kbit / s) than with the wireless standard for second generation (2G ), to the GSM standard ( up to 220 kbit / s EDGE, or max. 55 kbit / s is possible in the GPRS ).

  • 7.1 FDD mode 7.1.1 Situation in Germany
  • 7.1.2 Situation in Austria
  • 7.1.3 Situation in Switzerland
  • 7.2.1 Situation in Germany
  • 7.2.2 Situation in Austria
  • 7.2.3 Situation in Switzerland


The ITU had selected UMTS IMT- 2000; it is thus one of the third generation standards for mobile communications. Originally, the ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute ) UMTS had standardized; Today, the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP ) maintains it further. The standard is constantly expanded, for example, increased HSDPA, the maximum receive data rate (downlink). For the transmit data rate is comparable with HSUPA technology available.


UMTS includes advanced multimedia services as well as satellite and ground-based transmitters. The following services can be offered over UMTS:

  • Interpersonal communication ( audio and video telephony)
  • Messaging Services (Unified Messaging, video, voice -mail, chat)
  • Information distribution ( Internet → eg World Wide Web browsing, information services, public services)
  • Location-based services (personal navigation, driver assistance )
  • Business services ( process management, mobility in confined spaces )
  • Mass services ( banking, e-commerce, monitoring, consulting services)
  • A return channel for mobile interactive TV, IP datacast, DVB- H


In October 2008, there were 230 3G networks in 100 countries with over 400 million subscribers, 300 million use UMTS, and of these, 60 million are using HSPA (High Speed ​​Packet Access).

Participants strongest country in Europe is Italy: Italy Alone 3, Vodafone Italy and TIM were together almost 20 million 3G subscribers. For Germany BITKOM end of 2008 reported 15.9 million UMTS customers and the end of 2011 almost 29 million (35 percent more than last year ). Across Germany, were in mid-2010, supplied network operators across more than 70 % of the sites in which a mobile network is available with 3G (UMTS or HSDPA). In Austria there was end 2008 3.344.000 used 3G SIM cards, of which 812.7 thousand contracts for broadband mobile internet via UMTS.



Through the auction of UMTS licenses in July / August 2000, the Federal Republic of Germany took DM 98.8 billion ( equivalent to about 50 billion euros). This prompted the then Finance Minister Hans Eichel to exclaim, UMTS stands for " unexpected extra revenues for the repayment of sovereign debt ." The expenditure of the company for the auctioned licenses were in Germany in absolute terms (not per capita ) internationally the highest.

Six licenses were awarded to about 16 billion DM per the following Carrier: T- Mobile Germany, Vodafone D2 GmbH, MobilCom Multimedia GmbH, Germany Auditorium Investments S.à.rl (originally a consortium of E-Plus and Hutchison, later renamed E-plus 3G Luxembourg S.à.rl ), O2 and Group 3G ( a consortium of the Spanish Telefónica and Finnish Sonera ).

The licenses were issued on 6 October 2000. Two licenses were later abandoned: the end of 2003, the MobilCom Multimedia GmbH their license voluntarily returned to the regulatory authority and thus forgoing the exercise of the license and frequency usage rights; In October 2002, Group 3G lost with the exit from the German market their license, as this was not to be sold to third parties.

The high cost and the low supply of usable data services were one of the main reasons for the slow penetration of UMTS in the mass market: The company based their unattractive high fees with the huge license fees, the customer took the offer up only slightly and shareholders complained falling corporate values. In retrospect, the state has harmed the mobile market with it. A deliberate se competition came through the auction effectively not materialize, as smaller firms have been hindered by the high entry prices to enter the market; large firms lost through the license fee due immediately the necessary liquidity for a rapid network expansion and goodwill would be lost by inalienable an unwanted UMTS license. Moreover, spoke quickly around the market that a good UMTS reception was secured only in a few metropolitan areas, but off it the data services were limited in rural areas due to the low ranges of the high-frequency services are not or only slowly available. In Germany in 2003 there were preliminary tests for a few corporate clients who also were able to use only data cards. Since 2004, UMTS is commercially available in Germany and in the meantime there are also corresponding mobile phones in short supply.

Early February 2007, announced the Federal Network Agency to auction the returned and other UMTS frequency blocks ( again ); originally scheduled for 2008, the auction was conducted in May 2010.

End of May 2010 were auctioned licenses for the operation of the UMTS successor standard Long Term Evolution ( LTE) in Germany as part of the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP ). Telekom Germany, Vodafone and Telefónica Germany invested a total of around 4.4 billion euros in the UMTS successor.

Other countries

The world's first UMTS network was one taken in 2001 by the Manx Telecom on the Isle of operating.

The Austrian Mobilkom Austria launched on 25 September 2002, the first national UMTS network in Europe, but still be able to offer without corresponding UMTS mobile phones in large numbers for the end customer. The first provider of mobile video telephony over a UMTS network in German-speaking countries, which also had corresponding numbers of suitable mobile phones, the Austrian provider Hutchison 3G Austria was in May 2003.

Most auction of UMTS licenses in Europe were carried out in 2000, led by the UK in spring 2000. It was a profit of 22.477 billion UK pounds, about 38 billion euros achieved. Achievable per inhabitant Relatively speaking, this amount is higher than the result of the German auction. In France, the licenses were awarded in late 2000, taking account of promised by the vendors quality characteristics ( coverage, speed of expansion ). Significantly lower than in other countries, the licenses were sold to companies in Spain with 13 euro per inhabitant in Switzerland with around 7 Swiss francs (about 5 euros ) per capita.

Data transmission method

There are several phases of UMTS. The first stage (Release 1999, shortly R99 ) differs from the previous system, GSM, especially with a new radio access technology Wideband CDMA, which is based on CDMA. This higher transmission rates are possible. In addition, a mobile station, so the UMTS-enabled terminal, a plurality of data streams to transmit simultaneously or received. This allows users to make calls, for example, at the same time and receive e- mails.

Protocol layers ( Strata )

A distinction Access Stratum and Non Access Stratum, so a summary of the protocol layers that affect the radio access, or those which do not affect the radio access ( but the services and subscriber management in the core network ).

Duplex method

FDD mode

In the FDD mode ( Frequency Division Duplex) mobile and send a base station on two different frequency ranges: In the uplink channel, the mobile device transmits, in the downlink channel the base station. The two frequency bands each having a width of 5 MHz. The individual transmission channels are realized by pure CDMA. Currently, the German UMTS network operators rely on their networks in the FDD mode, the resulting achievable data transfer rate is 384 kbit / s for the downlink in R99. The method is intended for large-scale wireless network coverage.

  • Basic wireless technology: Wideband CDMA ( WCDMA)
  • User isolation: code ( CDMA)
  • Duplex FDD
  • Provider separation: frequency ( FDMA)
  • Channel spacing: 5 MHz
  • Chip - rate FDD: 3.84 Mcps
  • Maximum transmission power of the mobile station from 0.125 to 0.25 watts ( GSM for comparison: 1 - 2 watts)
  • Useful frequencies:

Situation in Germany

The used in Germany 2100 MHz frequency band with 60 MHz was in six bands of 10 MHz divided and awarded as follows:

In each band, up to two channels to accommodate. The exact center frequency can be freely selected by the mobile operators, but should be a multiple of 200 kHz are ( in exceptional cases, 100 kHz). In addition, must not be disturbed adjacent channels.

Situation in Austria

In Austria, the FDD bands have been assigned to five operators:

Originally six and not just five frequency bands have been assigned. Tele.ring was awarded the contract for the frequency band 1939.9 to 1949.7 MHz in the uplink and from 2129.9 to 2139.7 MHz downlink for ATS 1.56 billion (€ 113 million), which the to shutdown tele.ring UMTS network was also in use. A requirement for the purchase of tele.ring by T -Mobile Austria was the sale of these frequencies to the competitors one and three.

Situation in Switzerland

The FDD frequencies are assigned in Switzerland as follows:

TDD mode

In the TDD mode ( Time Division Duplex ) transmitting mobile and base station in the same frequency band but at different times. A frequency carrier is to divided into 15 time slots, the total transfer time is 10 ms. Each time slot is divided by CDMA turn into more radio channels. The process is technically complicated since timing problems may occur when moving the transmitter or is far away from the base station. With W -CDMA in the TDD mode is a data transfer rate of up to 2 Mbit / s (more precisely 1920 kbit / s) can be achieved for the downlink. This technique is not commercially available in Germany. In the Czech Republic, T-Mobile CZ since 2005 a network with UMTS TDD technology in operation, which is to be currently limited to Prague and later offered in other major cities.

  • Useful frequencies:

Situation in Germany

Although Germany is not a TDD network in operation, the frequencies have been assigned as follows:

The area occupied by O2 blocks were auctioned by the Federal Network Agency for € 5.7 million respectively at the frequency auction in 2010.

Situation in Austria

The TDD frequencies are assigned in Austria as follows:

Situation in Switzerland

The TDD frequencies are assigned in Switzerland as follows:


The development of High Speed ​​Downlink Packet Access ( HSDPA) enables significantly higher receive data rates (so-called " downlink "). Several devices categories are defined, which differ in the supported modulation schemes (QPSK or 16QAM ), the number of simultaneously receivable channels and the minimum interval of HSDPA blocks. The practically achievable and useful received data rate is lower due to interference in the rule. In addition, the achievable data rate also depends on the ability of the terminal. Common devices support HSDPA Category 8, with which up to 7.2 Mbit / s can be achieved in the download, while on the other hand already Newer HSDPA categories 14 and 24 (up to 21.1 Mbit / s and 42.2 Mbit / s support ).

These speeds are so far available in Germany in the UMTS networks of T -Mobile, Vodafone, E-Plus and O2. In Germany in mid-2007 led the first provider to HSDPA Category 8 with a maximum of 7.2 Mbit / s. By now offer T-Mobile and Vodafone HSDPA speeds of 42.2 Mbits. E-Plus and O2, however, provide maximum speeds of 21.1 Mbit / s ready, however, E-Plus began in 2013 in order to expand its UMTS network gradually to 42.2 Mbit / s.

Following the expansion of HSDPA High Speed ​​Uplink Packet may via Access ( HSUPA ), the maximum possible transmit data rate (so-called " uplink " ) to 5.8 Mbit / s can be increased. To use this much better speed, you need a terminal that supports HSUPA. All German network operators offer HSUPA in their UMTS networks.