Advanced Wireless Services
A specific band of radio frequencies (spectrum) intended to be used for 3G and 4G wireless phone and broadband services. Most of the spectrum is used for 3G and 4G mobile phone service, using technologies such as WCDMA/HSPA, CDMA, and LTE.
AWS is sub-divided into smaller "blocks" that are owned by different companies. The spectrum is also divided regionally, so one AWS license covers one block, for one geographic area of the country. Those licenses were auctioned off by the FCC to private companies in August 2006.
AWS - like most bands used for cell phones - is actually a set of paired bands, meaning it consists of two bands: one for mobile terminals (phones) to transmit to base stations (towers) and another band for towers to transmit back to phones. Those two bands - for AWS - are 1710-1755 MHz and 2110-2155 MHz, respectively.
Because those two bands are unusually far apart, the AWS band is sometimes referred to as the "1700/2100" band, even though it is one band. (Most bands are referred to by only one number, such as 850 or 1900.)
(For consistency - and so as not to confuse AWS with the very different 2100 band used elsewhere in the world - Phone Scoop refers to the AWS band as the "1700" band.)
In the context of WCDMA and LTE networks, the AWS band is also known as band 4 (IV). In the context of CDMA networks, it is known as BC15, which stands for band class 15.