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Frequently asked questions

 

Questions of a general nature

Questions of a general nature about the ITU, the BR, the Government’s role, the Radio Regulations and the Terrestrial services. Explanation of industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) applications. Frequency bands allocated to ISM applications.

International Frequency Management

Explanations of International frequency management, provisions, allocations, bands, plans and coordinations.

Notification and Registration Procedures

Frequency notification process, Frequencies to be notified, Frequencies not to be notified, Forms of notices, when to notify, examples, MIFR, Registration.

Questions of a general nature top

G001. What is the ITU?
G002. What is the role of the ITU Secretariat?
G003. What is the role of the Radiocommunication Bureau? 
G004. What role do governments play?
G005. What are the Radio Regulations? 
G006. What is the scope of the (international) Radio Regulations?
G007. How do the Radio Regulations of the ITU work?
G008. Are we obliged to apply the Regulations? 
G009. Who can amend the Regulations? 
G010. Which are the terrestrial services? 
G011. Which are the Regulations governing notification of assignments to terrestrial services? 
G012. What is the status of the automated system for processing notices (TerRaSys)? 
G013. What is meant by ISM applications and how are the related frequencies used?
G014. What should the frequency spectrum management authority of each country take into account when assigning frequencies? top

International Frequency Management top

I001. What is meant by “frequency spectrum management”?
I002. Why is there a need for international spectrum management? 
I003. Why are there more provisions applied to some services than to others? 
I004. How are frequency bands allocated?
I005. What is the international Table of Frequency Allocations? 
I006. What types of allocation exist in the Radio Regulations? 
I007. In which cases are exclusive allocations made? 
I008. In which cases are shared frequency allocations made?
I009. Why is the planning of frequency bands so important?
I010. Which worldwide plans have been established under the auspices of the ITU, for terrestrial services?
I011. Which Regional plans, established under the auspices of the ITU, are still relevant to the terrestrial services? 
I012. Which other organizations play active roles in the planning and co-ordination of frequencies?
I013. What is the purpose of frequency coordination?
I014. Of what does the frequency coordination process consist?
I015. When is it mandatory for administrations to co-ordinate with the other concerned administrations before notifying the relevant frequency assignment to the Bureau, in the context of terrestrial services?
I016. Apart from the mandatory procedures listed in the Radio Regulations are there other Agreements for prior co-ordination of assignments to terrestrial services? top

Questions of a general nature

G001. What is the ITU?

The ITU is an intergovernmental organization, which is established by Member States – Parties to the Constitution of the International Telecommunication Union. The membership is composed of Member States and Sector Members, whose rights and obligations are well defined in the Constitution and the Convention of the ITU. The Constitution and the Convention of the ITU are contained in the publication “Collection of the basic texts of the ITU adopted by the Plenipotentiary Conference”, a commercial publication which is available from the ITU Sales and Marketing service (sales@itu.int). top

G002. What is the role of the ITU Secretariat ?

The ITU Secretariat performs such activities that are attributed to it by the Convention and the Administrative Regulations (Radio Regulations, International Telecommunication Regulations). The Radio Regulations and the International Telecommunication Regulations are commercial publications that are available from the ITU Sales and Marketing service (sales@itu.int). Given the intergovernmental character of the ITU, the secretariat normally deals with governmental departments designated to participate in the ITU activities by the governments of the Member States, as well as with Sector Members that are admitted to participate in the ITU activities. top

G003. What is the role of the Radiocommunication Bureau? 

The Radiocommunication Bureau's function is, among other things, to ensure rational, equitable, efficient and economic use of the radio frequency spectrum by all radiocommunication services. One of its essential tasks is to register, in accordance with the Regulations, frequency assignments notified by administrations. top 

G004. What role do governments play?

Governments that have ratified the Constitution and Convention of the International Telecommunication Union undertake: (1) to apply the provisions in their countries and (2) to adopt adequate national legislation, which includes, as the basic minimum, the essential provisions of this international treaty. top

G005. What are the Radio Regulations? 

The Radio Regulations are part of the Administrative Regulations complementing the provisions of the ITU Convention, which govern the use of telecommunications and are binding on all Members. top

G006. What is the scope of the (international) Radio Regulations?

The Radio Regulations specify the basic conditions that are relevant for the international radio-regulatory arrangement. Some of these conditions are specified in rather general terms (e.g., the international Table of Frequency Allocations), while some other conditions are specified in a more detailed manner (e.g., procedures for mandatory coordination, notification and recording of frequency assignments). Other elements, such as: procedures for issuing licenses, availability of frequency bands for specific applications, type of approval procedures, use of radio equipment by foreign persons, etc., are governed by national legislation instruments. The national legislation instruments (e.g., national tables of frequency allocations) are not available from ITU, but may be obtained from the regulatory authorities of the concerned Member State. The addresses of the regulatory authorities are contained in the ITU Global Directory: http://www.itu.int/GlobalDirectory/ . top

G007. How do the Radio Regulations of the ITU work?

The Radio Regulations of the ITU are the principal instrument of the international radio-regulatory arrangement. They define the rules to be applied in using the spectrum, as well as the rights and obligations resulting from this use. The international Radio Regulations are based on the use of two main concepts:

 

  • The concept of frequency block allocations those are intended for use by defined radio services (Table of Frequency Allocations as contained in Article 5 of the Radio Regulations). This concept generally provides common frequency allocations to mutually compatible services operating with similar technical characteristics in specific parts of the spectrum. It also provides stable planning environment for administrations, for equipment manufacturers and for users.

  • The concept of voluntary or obligatory regulatory procedures (for coordination, notification and recording) those are adapted to the allocation structure. top

 

G008. Are we obliged to apply the Regulations? 

Ratification of the ITU Convention implies acceptance of the Radio Regulations. top

G009. Who can amend the Regulations? 

Only a world radiocommunication conference (WRC) can amend the Radio Regulations. top

G010. Which are the terrestrial services? 

The terrestrial services are the fixed, maritime mobile, aeronautical mobile, land mobile, radionavigation, radiolocation and broadcasting services. top

G011. Which are the Regulations governing notification of assignments to terrestrial services? 

Almost all the basic provisions on notification of frequency assignments to terrestrial services are to be found in Article 11 and Appendix 4 of the Radio Regulations. Article 11 is divided into two sections, the first (RR 11.1 to 11.26) dealing solely with notification and the second (RR 11.27 to 11.49) with the examination of frequency assignments. top

G012. What is the status of the automated system for processing notices (TerRaSys)?

The Bureau uses TerRaSys for the processing of a substantive number of notices (e.g. notices relating to the broadcasting service in the VHF/UHF bands, notices relating to fixed and mobile services in all frequency bands). The Bureau also uses other processing systems in respect of notices to services that are not yet integrated into TerRaSys. TerRaSys is being gradually updated with a view to future integration of these standalone systems into TerRaSys (e.g. the LFMF component for the processing of notices relating to the LF and MF broadcasting services, the GEO6D component dealing with digital broadcasting service in VHF/UHF bands, etc.)   top

 

G013. What is meant by ISM applications and how are the related frequencies used? 

The term "unregulated frequencies" is not used within ITU texts. What is often meant by the term "unregulated frequencies" is the frequency bands for industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) applications. The international Table of Frequency Allocations, which is contained in Article 5 of the Radio Regulations (Volume 1), specifies some frequency bands that may be made available for ISM applications (see RR Nos. 5.138 and 5.150 reproduced below):

 

  • 5.138 The following bands: 6765-6795 kHz (centre frequency 6780 kHz), 433.05-434.79 MHz (centre frequency 433.92 MHz) in Region 1 except in the countries mentioned in RR No. 5.280, 61-61.5 GHz (centre frequency 61.25 GHz), 122-123 GHz (centre frequency 122.5 GHz), and 244-246 GHz (centre frequency 245 GHz) are designated for industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) applications. The use of these frequency bands for ISM applications shall be subject to special authorization by the administration concerned, in agreement with other administrations whose radiocommunication services might be affected. In applying this provision, administrations shall have due regard to the latest relevant ITU-R Recommendations. 

  • 5.150 The following bands: 13553-13567 kHz (centre frequency 13560 kHz), 26957-27283 kHz (centre frequency 27120 kHz), 40.66-40.70 MHz (centre frequency 40.68 MHz), 902-928 MHz in Region 2 (centre frequency 915 MHz), 2400-2500 MHz (centre frequency 2450 MHz), 5725-5875 MHz (centre frequency 5800 MHz), and 24-24.25 GHz (centre frequency 24.125 GHz) are also designated for industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) applications. Radiocommunication services operating within these bands must accept harmful interference, which may be caused by these applications. ISM equipment operating in these bands is subject to the provisions of RR No. 15.13. top

 

G014. What should the frequency spectrum management authority of each country take into account when assigning frequencies?

Using the international Table of Frequency Allocations as a starting point, the frequency spectrum management authority of each country normally selects appropriate frequencies with a view to their assigning to stations of a given service. Before taking the final decision to assign a frequency to a station in a given radiocommunication service in a given frequency band and to issue an appropriate license, the authority concerned should be aware of all other conditions that are regulating the use of frequencies in the concerned band, e.g.:

 

  • Are there other mandatory Radio Regulations provisions that are governing the use of frequencies (mandatory channeling arrangement, power limits)? 

  • Is the band concerned subject to a pre-established international assignment or allotment plan; are the characteristics of the assignment in accordance with the appropriate entry in the plan; is there a need to apply the plan modification procedure prior to issuing a license? 

  • Is there a need for effecting the coordination procedure prior to notification of the concerned assignment to the Radiocommunication Bureau or prior to its bringing into use, is the procedure mandatory or voluntary, is the procedure specified in the Radio Regulations or in a special agreement? 

  • Is there a need to notify the frequency assignment to the Radiocommunication Bureau, when such notification should be made, which characteristics are to be notified, what action should be foreseen after the recording or otherwise of the frequency assignment concerned? top

 

If you have not found the answer to your question, send it to the Radiocommunication Bureau at the following address: brtpr@itu.int 

 

International Frequency Management

I001. What does “frequency spectrum management” mean?

The term “frequency spectrum management” is used to describe various administrative and technical procedures that are intended to ensure the operation of radio stations of different radiocommunication services at any given time without causing or receiving harmful interference. It takes place at two levels: national and international.  top

I002. Why is there a need for international spectrum management?

The radio frequency spectrum is a limited natural resource and must be used rationally, efficiently and economically, so that countries and groups of countries may have equitable access to it. Radio waves propagate in space with no regard for political frontiers. top

I003. Why are there more provisions applied to some services than to others? 

The level of the regulation varies considerably from service to service. Some services (e.g., the maritime mobile and the aeronautical mobile services) are subject to detailed international regulations because they require broad international use of equipment, which implies the need to handle the relevant operational procedures and technical material in a larger international context. top

I004 How are frequency bands allocated?

The Radio Regulations contain the international Table of Frequency Allocations (currently included in Article 5), which is based on a block allocation method with footnotes. The regulated frequency band (9 kHz - 400 GHz) is segmented into smaller bands and allocated to over 40 defined radiocommunication services. The radio services are identified as primary or secondary (the latter shall cause no harmful interference to, nor claim protection from, the former) and footnotes are used to further specify how the frequencies are to be assigned or used. The Table is organized into three Regions of the world and is supplemented by assignment and allotment plans for some bands and services, and/or by mandatory coordination procedures. top

I005 What is the international Table of Frequency Allocations? 

The international Table of Frequency Allocations is contained in Article 5 of the Regulations. It specifies the way frequency bands are to be shared among different radiocommunication services in the three regions 1, 2 and 3.  top

I006. What types of allocation exist in the Radio Regulations? 

There are two types of allocation: 

  1. exclusive allocations, where the frequency band concerned is allocated to a single radiocommunication service, and 

  2. shared frequency allocations, where the frequency band concerned is allocated to two or more radiocommunication services. top

 

I007 In which cases are exclusive allocations made? 

Exclusive allocations are favoured in cases that involve broad international use of equipment and practices, which imply the need to harmonise relevant operational procedures and technical material in a larger international context. top

I008 In which cases are shared frequency allocations made?

Shared frequency allocations are applied to maximize the usage of available spectrum when two or more radiocommunication services can effectively utilize the same frequency band. The regulatory procedures which govern the use of bands that are allocated to several radiocommunication services, on a shared basis, are based on the use of technical criteria (usually threshold values) which are intended to identify the countries with which the coordination is to be effected to obtain an acceptable sharing arrangement. top

I009. Why is the planning of frequency bands so important?

The planning of the frequency bands, through establishing of frequency allotment or frequency assignment plans, represent a key mechanism for preserving the rights of all Member States in the context of equitable access to the limited radio resources (the frequency spectrum and the geostationary satellite orbit). These plans provide for an orderly use of the frequencies in the relevant bands, in accordance with the long-term needs of each country. Each plan is normally accompanied with a plan modification and notification procedure, which provide for satisfaction of particular operational requirements, which are not met by the Plans, while preserving the integrity of the Plans themselves. There are two types of plans:

 

  • worldwide plans, that are applicable to the whole world, in the frequency bands that are covered by the plan, and for the services that are subject to planning; and

  • regional plans, that are applicable to some areas only (“planning areas”, e.g., Region 1, European Broadcasting Area, African Broadcasting Area, European maritime Area), in the frequency bands that are covered by the plan, and for the services that are subject to planning. top

 

I010. Which “worldwide” plans have been established under the auspices of the ITU, for terrestrial services?

The following world-wide plans have been established, under the auspices of the ITU, for the terrestrial services, and they form part of the Radio Regulations:

 

  • The frequency allotment plan for coast radiotelephone stations operating in the exclusive maritime mobile bands between 4000 and 27500 kHz (Appendix 25 to RR); 

  • The frequency allotment plan for the aeronautical mobile (OR) service operating in the exclusive bands between 3025 and 18030 kHz (Appendix 26 to RR); 

  • The frequency allotment plan for the aeronautical mobile (R) service operating in the exclusive bands between 2850 and 22000 kHz (Appendix 27 to RR). top

 

I011. Which “Regional” plans, established under the auspices of the ITU, are still relevant to the terrestrial services?

 

  • Frequency assignment plans for VHF and UHF Television Broadcasting annexed to the Regional Agreement for the European Broadcasting Area, Stockholm, 1961 (ST61), including a frequency assignment plan for FM sound broadcasting in the band 41 – 68 MHz; 

  • Frequency assignment plans for LF and MF broadcasting annexed to the Regional Agreement on LF/MF Broadcasting (Regions 1 and 3), Geneva, 1975 (GE75); 

  • Frequency assignment plan for MF broadcasting annexed to the Regional Agreement on MF Broadcasting, (Region 2), Rio de Janeiro, 1981 (RJ81); 

  • Frequency assignment plan for VHF/FM sound broadcasting annexed to the Regional Agreement concerning FM Sound Broadcasting Stations (Region 1 and part of Region 3), Geneva, 1984 (GE84); 

  • Frequency assignment plan for stations of the maritime mobile and aeronautical radionavigation service in the MF bands in Region 1 annexed to the Regional Agreement concerning the MF maritime mobile and aeronautical radionavigation services in Region 1, Geneva, 1985 (GE85- MM-R1); 

  • Frequency assignment plan for stations of the maritime radionavigation service (radiobeacons) for the European Maritime Area in the band 283.5 – 315 kHz annexed to the Regional Agreement concerning the planning of the maritime radionavigation service (radiobeacons) in the European Maritime Area, Geneva, 1985 (GE85-EMA); 

  • Allotment plan for the broadcasting service in the band 1605 – 1705 kHz in Region 2 annexed to the Regional Agreement for the use of the band 1605 – 1705 kHz in Region 2, Rio de Janeiro, 1988 (RJ88); 

  • Frequency assignment plan for VHF and UHF Television Broadcasting annexed to the Regional Agreement concerning planning of the VHF/UHF Television Broadcasting stations in the African Broadcasting Area and neighbouring Countries, Geneva 1989 (GE89). top

 

I012. Which other organizations play active roles in the planning and co-ordination of frequencies?

Many organizations play active roles in the planning and co-ordination of frequencies, for example ICAO, IMO, WMO, IALA. These organizations are establishing their own plans. top

I013. What is the purpose of frequency coordination?

The frequency coordination procedure, i.e., the procedure for coordinating the use of frequencies in the non-planned bands, before their putting into use, is aimed to ensure implementation of new radiocommunication systems while avoiding harmful interference with the other existing and planned users. The coordination procedures may be considered as a means of dynamic planning of the spectrum/orbit resource, allowing more efficient use and without unnecessary freezing of the resource. top

I014. What does the frequency coordination process consist of?

The frequency coordination is a bilateral or multilateral process, conducted between administrations, which comprises the following activities:

 

  • identification of the administrations whose assignments are likely to be affected and with which prior coordination must be sought or agreement obtained; 

  • use of standardized methods for calculating the potential for interference; 

  • application of standardized steps of a well-defined and transparent procedure comprising, inter alia, the exchange of a sufficient number of data elements in a prescribed format, communicating comments within a prescribed period, and, when appropriate, publication of the results of the coordination procedure in the appropriate Circular of the ITU/BR. top

 

I015. When is it mandatory for administrations to co-ordinate with the other concerned administrations before notifying the relevant frequency assignment to the Bureau, in the context of terrestrial services?

In the context of terrestrial services, Administrations have the obligation to effect mandatory coordination with the other concerned Administrations, before notifying the relevant frequency assignment to the Bureau or before bringing into use the relevant frequency assignment, in the following cases:

 

  • for any station of a service for which the requirement to seek the agreement of other administrations is included in a footnote of the Table of Frequency Allocations referring to RR No. 9.21 (e.g., 5.92, 6.93, etc.) in respect to all services which have allocations in the concerned frequency band of the same or a higher category of allocation – see RR No. 9.21 and Appendix 5;

  • for a transmitting station of a terrestrial service for which the requirement to coordinate is included in a footnote of the Table of Frequency Allocations referring to RR No. 9.11A and which is located within the coordination area of an earth station in a non-geostationary satellite network in respect to a receiving earth station in a NGSO network – see RR No. 9.16 and Appendix 5; 

  • for any transmitting station of a terrestrial service in frequency band above 100 MHz allocated with equal rights to space and terrestrial stations which is located within the coordination area of an earth station in a geostationary, or non-geostationary, satellite network in respect to a receiving earth station in the concerned network – see RR No. 9.18 and Appendix 5; 

  • for any transmitting station of a terrestrial service in a frequency bands shared on an equal primary basis with the BSS (i.e., in the bands 620 – 790 MHz, 1452 – 1492 MHz, 2310 – 2360 MHz, 2520 – 2670 MHz, 11.7 – 12.75 GHz, 17.3 – 17.8 GHz, 21.4 – 22 GHz and 74 – 76 GHz) in respect to typical earth stations included in the service area of a space station in the BSS, if the pfd of a terrestrial station exceeds the permissible level at the edge of BSS service area – see RR No. 9.19 and Appendix 5. top

 

I016. Apart from the mandatory procedures listed in the Radio Regulations are there other Agreements for prior co-ordination of assignments to terrestrial services?

In addition to the mandatory procedures listed in the Radio Regulations, some Regional Agreements also specify the obligation of performing prior coordination of assignments to terrestrial services in some specific cases, e.g.:

 

  • The regional agreement concerning the MF maritime mobile and aeronautical radionavigation services in Region 1, Geneva, 1985 (GE85-MM-R1), specifies the obligation for the parties to the agreement to coordinate their assignments in the non-planned services (fixed and land mobile) in the bands 1606.5 – 1625 kHz, 1635 – 1800 kHz and 2045 – 2160 kHz in respect to the assignments of the planned service; 

  • The regional agreement concerning the planning of the maritime radionavigation service (radiobeacons) in the European Maritime Area, Geneva, 1985 (GE85-EMA), specifies the obligation for the parties to the agreement to coordinate their assignments in the non-planned service (aeronautical radionavigation) in the band 283.5 – 315 kHz in respect to the assignments of the planned service; 

  • The regional agreement for the use of the band 1605 – 1705 kHz in Region 2, Rio de Janeiro, 1988 (RJ88) specifies the obligation for the parties to the agreement to coordinate their assignments in the non-planned services (fixed and mobile) in the band 1625 – 1705 kHz in respect to the allotment plan. top

 

If you have not found the answer to your question, send it to the Radiocommunication Bureau at the following address: brmail@itu.int 

 

 

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