There are now plenty of UMTS panel antennas around, some of which are also GSM1800 (dual band) antennas. Antenna arrays and intelligent beam forming antenna systems have been coming for a while, but traditional, cheap and trusted panels seem to be the antennas of choice for most 3G operators.
So what do you need to know about UMTS antennas? From the technical point of view antenna gain seem to be the most asked feature of the antenna. Typical 1.6 - 1.8 meter UMTS panel antennas have 16 - 20 dBi gain. Beam width is usually the next thing engineers want to now. Typical horizontal beam width for 3 sector suburban site antennas are 65 degrees and vertical beam width about 4 to 6 degrees. Most of the antennas have mechanical and electrical (even remote) down tilt capabilities. Dual polarised antennas are becoming more popular because a single antenna is enough for a cell and it makes site acquisition a lot easier.
The other side of the antenna specification is how much do those cost in larger volumes, what are the delivery times, what special colours are available and how much delays would that cause, what is the physical size of an antenna, what special case antennas (omnis, yagis, indoor, 3 antennas in a single cone, camouflage systems) does the manufacturer offer, what is the antenna build quality and what kind of support is there in the country. Network vendors also have partnerships with antenna manufacturers, which will make them biased when recommending antennas. In some countries tax and import laws encourage operators to use local products and a lot of operators have more than one (antenna) vendor policies. All these things considered it is not easy to choose the antennas.
Here is a small list of antenna manufacturers that offer UMTS antennas:
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