[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper presents a frequency domain (FD) sequential cell search method for UMTS WCDMA. The proposed method has lower complexity compared to the conventional time domain (TD) one. We explain how to do the Reed-Solomon (RS) code decoding, code group identification, and frame boundary search in FD. Comparison on the complexity requirement of both TD and FD decoding methods is also provided. In order to reduce the acquisition time, we employ early decoding which treats symbols not yet received as erasures. Simulation results provide the best starting time to decode to get the shortest mean acquisition time. It also shows this decoding strategy can reduce the acquisition time in all SNR, and significantly at low SNR and high Doppler frequency.