Spectrum Planning & Management
Spectrum Planning & Management is the combination of administrative, scientific and technical procedures necessary to ensure the efficient operation of radio communication equipment and services without causing interference. Simply stated, spectrum planning & management is the overall process of regulating and administering use of the radio frequency spectrum. The goal of spectrum planning & management is to maximize spectrum efficiency and minimize interference. Rules and regulations, based on relevant legislation, form a regulatory and legal basis for the spectrum management process.
Databases of information, including details of all authorized users of the spectrum, provide the administrative and technical basis for the process. Analysis of the information in these databases facilitates the spectrum management process resulting in decisions for spectrum allocations, frequency assignments, and licensing. Spectrum monitoring, inspection, and law enforcement provide the necessary means to maintain the integrity of the spectrum management process.
Why Spectrum Planning?
The requirement for spectrum planning stems from the need to manage interference between users. Generally speaking, radio receivers are not able to distinguish between similar strength, multiple transmissions on the same frequency.
A consequence of the potential for interference is that spectrum is described in economic terms as being a finite, instantly renewable, natural resource. Because the spectrum has the attributes of a limited resource, it has significant economic value and must be managed to maximize its overall benefit.
The other reason for managing the spectrum relates to harmonization between countries. Generally speaking, various industry sectors, and ultimately consumers, benefit from internationally agreed spectrum arrangements and standards costs are lower through larger economies of scale and the market place is more competitive. For example, the international transport sector relies on global harmonization of spectrum arrangements (and technical standards) to support the safe control and free movement of aircraft and shipping between countries.
Pakistan Table of Frequency Allocation
Pakistan Table of Frequency Allocations is the broadest level technical document showing the allocation policy of bands to various types of services. This Table is intended to
Table of Frequency Allocations is the first planning document but usually not sufficient for assigning specific frequencies to users. Band Plans and Channel Plans are necessary for effective spectrum management. Band Plans provide detailed allocation of the spectrum between types of services and contain detailed frequency channeling arrangements build in a number of specific interference avoidance measures based on ITU-R Recommendations. The Table of Allocations is drawn from and kept updated with the ITU-R Radio Regulations, which are revised at World Radio-communication Conferences and government policies, in order to promote Telecom industry
Guidelines on Spectrum Planning & Management Process
Frequency Allocation Board after receiving applications from PTA /PEMRA /Govt assigns the Radio Frequencies with associated technical parameters for all wireless networks after technical evaluation on spectrum management tools, formulation / review of the National Frequency Spectrum Plan and suggest means for optimized spectrum utilization, international coordination and agreements with other administrations in relation to various satellite and terrestrial based communication networks, fulfilling national obligations as contained in international treaties of the ITU, etc, monitoring of spectrum for the detection of unauthorized wireless stations, site clearance of all wireless installations in the country.
Type Approval Procedure:
No terminal equipment can be connected to a public switched network unless it has been approved by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority. Type Approval is granted to a product that meets a minimum set of regulatory, technical and safety requirements. Generally, type approval is required before a product is allowed to be sold in a particular country, so the requirements for a given product will vary around the world.
Under Section 29 of the Pakistan Telecom Re-organization Act 1996, type approval of Telecommunication equipment is the domain of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority. Applicants must apply to PTA for type approval along with requisite documents i.e. EMC/EMI, Safety, functional test and compliance reports etc. The applications are then processed by PTA and forwarded to FAB for comments / views on case to case basis. If the applied equipment passes the type approval test, type approval certificate is issued by PTA for the same. Further information and complete procedure is available on PTA’s Website:
Frequency Allocation, Assignment and Site Clearance Procedure
Applications for the assignment and authorization of radio frequency spectrum and site clearance are received in FAB HQs through PTA / PEMRA. Applicants for the following categories shall send their application to PTA on relevant forms available on PTA’s website (https://www.pta.gov.pk/en/rbs-applications):
- Fixed point to point links in licensed/ ISM bands by LDI/ Cellular/ WLL and CVAS license holders
- BTS site clearance by Cellular/ WLL licensees
- Amateur radio applications
- Land Mobile Wireless Networks
- Radio Trunking Networks,
- Paging Networks,
- Aeronautical Ground to Air Communication Networks,
- Maritime Coastal Station Networks
The applications of frequency assignment for FM broadcasting transmitter stations shall be sent to PEMRA (https://184.108.40.206/pemra/?page_id=65).
- The applications received in FAB HQs from PTA and PEMRA are evaluated / analyzed and processed accordingly.
- Proposals specifying the proposed frequency spots with bandwidth, area of service, transmitter power etc., are circulated to the Members of the Frequency Allocation Board for approval/ clearance.
- Aproval or regret is conveyed in the light of decisions of the Board and subsequently PTA/ PEMRA issue wireless licenses or otherwise.
- The cases extraordinary in nature e.g. policy issues etc. are put up in the meetings of the Board.
- In some cases Spectrum is made available for Auctions i.e. 2G/ IMT Spectrum, WLL etc as per the policy directives of the Federal Government.
The Pakistan Telecom Re-Organization Act 1996:
The Pakistan Telecommunication (Re-Organization) Act was promulgated in 1996 with the aim to reorganize the telecom sector of Pakistan.
Under Section 42 of the Pakistan Telecom Reorganization Act 1996, Frequency Allocation Board took over the functions performed by Pakistan Wireless Board established in 1951. According to the provisions of the said Act (Section 43), FAB has the exclusive authority to allocate and assign portions of radio frequency spectrum to all users including the Government, providers of telecommunication services and telecommunication systems, radio and television broadcasting operations, public and private wireless operators and others
Telecom Re-organization Act 1996 (Amended in 2006)
Functions of FAB as taken over according to section 42 Pakistan Telecom Re-organization Act 1996 (Amended in 2006):
- Assign frequencies in Pakistan.
- Frequency Coordination with other Boards.
- Interference Monitoring.
- Correct observance of the international radio parameters.
- Coordination with Defence services.
- Advise Government on new wireless services.
- BTS site clearance.
- Advise on use of equipment whenever requested.
- Maintain list of all frequency assignments.
- Undertake any other duties assigned by the Pakistan Government.
Spectrum Management Activities
- Spectrum harmonization: FAB ensures that the use of spectrum is harmonized with the ITU radio regulations, guidelines, resolutions and recommendations, except where national interest warrants a different determination.
- Spectrum Re-farming: FAB continues to review the spectrum bands in accordance with ITU regulations and re-farms the spectrum where its current use is not in the best social and economic interests of Pakistan, it is underutilized, used inefficiently or its use is inconsistent with international allocations. Spectrum re-farming ensures the reassignment of frequencies to uses with greater social and commercial benefits than are attainable from the prevailing assignment of those frequencies.
- Development of Frameworks: FAB remains actively involved in the development of frameworks for spectrum re-farming, spectrum sharing and trading, test and development licenses, SRDs etc. by providing relevant inputs to Pakistan Telecommunication Authority.
- Release of spectrum: FAB ensures timely release of spectrum as per the directives of Federal Government to meet the requirements of new and existing services.