Spectrum and Regulation
Edward Au

The previous Standards Column presented a high-level overview of the difference between unlicensed and licensed spectrum. 

This column provides an update in spectrum and regulatory policies in selected countries/regions, which are related to the frequency bands of interest to 3GPP and IEEE, including 900 MHz, 3.6 GHz, 5.6 GHz, 5.9 GHz and millimeter wave frequency bands.

In December 2017, the Hong Kong Office of the Communications Authority (OFCA) issued “Guidelines for the Submission of Proposals Applying for the Wireless Internet of Things License” [1].

This license is created for the establishment, maintenance and operation of wireless networks and systems for provision of wireless IoT service based on wireless technologies operating in the 920-925 MHz (and/or other frequency bands that may be considered) on a shared and uncoordinated manner.

The wireless IoT service, however, does not include any service that carries real-time voice communications. Similar to the other license-exempt spectra, use of these frequency bands as authorized under the wireless IoT license is shared with other applications in an uncoordinated manner, and is not protected from any interference caused by other lawful telecommunications installations or radio equipment.

It is also incumbent upon the licensees to ensure that there will be no harmful interference to existing users operating in the same frequency band. As of the end of December 2017, two companies (one using LoRaWAN network; and another using Sigfox network) have been granted the license.

In the same month, the Hong Kong Communications Authority (HKCA) published “Performance specification for radio equipment operating in the 920-925 MHz band for the provision of public telecommunications services” [2]. This performance specification covers requirements on electrical safety, radiation protection, and technical requirements for any device operating in the aforementioned frequency band.

Among all the requirements, the main point is to follow Part 15.247 of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the United States. There is also a requirement on modulation in which frequency-hopping spread spectrum is required, and the maximum allowable 20 dB bandwidth of the frequency-hopping channel is 500 kHz.

In Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) published a decision document “Future use of the 3.6 GHz band - Decisions and preliminary views” [3], in which the ACMA has decided to progress the 3575–3700 MHz in metropolitan and regional Australia to the re-farming stage of its process for considering additional spectrum for mobile broadband services.

In the same document, ACMA establish site-based apparatus-licensed point-to-multipoint arrangements in the 5.6 GHz band in regional and remote Australia as part of the mitigation strategy to assist WISPs and other prospective site-based wireless broadband operators with licenses in the 3.6 GHz band. The ACMA will adopt a policy position that the 5.6 GHz band should be made available for such licensing at least until the end of 2028.

ACMA created a new type of class licenses In December 2017: Radio-communications (Intelligent Transport Systems) Class License [4], which authorizes a person to operate an ITS station subject to a few conditions including:

As ACMA mentioned in its press release, “new regulations will allow Australian road traffic authorities to roll out intelligent transport systems (ITS) that enable vehicle-to-vehicle, vehicle-to-person or vehicle-to-infrastructure communications”.

In the Open Commission Meeting on 16 November 2017, the FCC approved the proposed Second Report and Order, Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Order on Reconsideration, and Memorandum Opinion and Order, making additional spectrum above 24 GHz available for fifth-generation use, affirming certain service rules, requesting comment on additional issues, and rejecting various proposals. 

This accepted proposal was published in Federal Registers on 2 January 2018 [5], effective from 1 February 2018. Of most interest to our community:


[1] See reference 1

[2] See reference 2

[3] See reference 3

[4] See reference 4

[5] See reference 5

[6] See reference 6

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In this Issue
Message from the EiC
Message from the President:
VTS Volunteerism—Enabling Professional and Personal Growth!
Message from the 2018 IEEE VTS VP—Mobile Radio
Board of Governors Member Profile: Lajos Hanzo
Spectrum and Regulation
From the IEEE VTS Resource Center
Practical Work with Robots
From IEEE Vehicular Technology Magazine
LTE-V for Sidelink 5G V2X Vehicular Communications
Mobile Radio
5G Core Network Prototypes and 5G New Radio
Transportation Systems
Melbourne, Victoria, Expands Commuter Rail Service
Conference Report
Calls for Papers
VTC2018-Fall & VPPC 2018 in Chicago
IEEE Vehicular Technology Magazine: Special Issue on 5G Technologies and Applications
Fog/Edge Computing for Autonomous and Connected Cars
Mobile Edge Computing for Vehicular Networks