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We propose and demonstrate the first RF digitally controlled oscillator (DCO) for cellular mobile phones. The DCO is part of a single-chip quad-band fully compliant GSM transceiver realized in a 90 nm digital CMOS process. Wide and precise linear frequency tuning is achieved through digital control of a large array of standard n-poly/n-well MOSCAP devices that operate in flat regions of their C- V curves. The varactors are partitioned into binary-weighted and unit-weighted banks that are sequentially activated during frequency locking and tracking. The finest varactor step size is 12 kHz at the 1.6-2.0 GHz high-band output. To attenuate the quantization noise to below the natural oscillator phase noise, the varactors undergo high-speed second-order ΣΔ dithering. We analyze the effect of the ΣΔ dithering on the phase noise and show that it can be made sufficiently small. The measured phase noise at 20 MHz offset in the GSM900 band is -165 dBc/Hz and shows no degradation due to the ΣΔ dithering. The 3.6 GHz DCO core consumes 18.0 mA from a 1.4 V supply and has a very wide tuning range of 900 MHz to support the quad-band operation.