Commerce Ministry releases report on mobile phone spectrum

The Ministry of Commerce is looking for a short-term answer to problems of interference among mobile technologies.

Potential conflict and interference between different mobile technologies mean the Ministry of Commerce is looking at a short-term solution to the problem of spectrum allocation for the next round of mobile applications.

The ministry’s communications division released its interim report on spectrum for mobile and other cordless technologies--known generically as “the 2GHz report”--earlier this month. The report was put together by a group which included representatives from the main telcos, plus Television New Zealand subsidiary Broadcast Communications (BCL). No decisions are likely until the middle of the year.

The spectrum bands (1.7-2.3GHz), which will be used primarily for personal communications services (PCS), are also occupied by fixed services, and the introduction of new services will need to be working in around these until the incumbent services are moved, the report says. Just how this relocation is to be carried out has also yet to be determined.

The frequency bands under consideration for mobile technologies are:

High Tier/Cellular

* GSM DCS1800 (1710-1785, 1805-1885MHz)

* USA Licensed PCS (1850-1910, 1930-1990MHz)

Low Tier/Cordless

* DECT (1880-1900MHz, and 1900-1920MHz for future extensions)

* PHS (1895-1918.1MHz)

* USA Unlicensed (1910-1930MHz)

Mobile Satellite Services (subject to possible changes at World Radio Communications conference next year)

* Earth to Space Regions 1, 3 1980-2010MHz Region 2 1980-2025MHz

* Space to Earth Region 1, 3 2170-2200MHz Region 2 2160-2200MHz

The current strong demand for spectrum to be made available for “cordless/low-tier” offerings such as personal communications services (PCS) means the ministry is looking at designating a small amount of spectrum--“the minimum practicable bandwidth”--to allow the offering of such services as soon as possible.

This does not necessarily, however, set a precedent for further uses of the spectrum, and depends on whether or not a suitable method for dealing with incumbent users is settled. Communications Minister Maurice Williamson says the ministry is now considering the report and will come back early next year with proposals on how to make spectrum available.

In the meantime, it will be granting only temporary licences for testing purposes.

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