The provision of ICT services that make use of radio frequencies generally requires two authorizations: one to provide the ICT service and a second authorization for the use of the radio frequency. It is necessary, for instance, to authorize cellular service providers to use the required spectrum as well as authorizing them to operate the cellular networks. Spectrum authorizations required to provide a service are often granted as part of an individual licensing process.
Authorizations to operate an ICT service and to use the required radio spectrum should be granted at the same time. There should be no delays or risks of inconsistent regulatory requirements as between the two types of authorizations. If two separate authorizations are issued, they should be issued simultaneously. A good approach is to attach a draft spectrum authorization as well as a draft service provider’s authorization to a request for applications for authorizations.
One reason for retaining two separate authorizations is administrative convenience in the management of the spectrum. In most countries spectrum management is delegated to a different administrative group from the group that regulates other aspects of telecommunications operations, such as price regulation or anti-competitive conduct. By having a separate, consistent form of spectrum authorization, technical, reporting and compliance requirements can be standardized for all users of the radio spectrum.
There are a number of regulatory considerations that are specific to spectrum authorizations. These issues, along with a range of other matters, are canvassed in Module 5, Radio Spectrum Management.