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Spectrum Leasing
 

Spectrum Leasing


Background

In October 2003, the Commission released the first Report and Order and Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (pdf) , in which it established new policies and procedures to facilitate broader access to valuable spectrum resources through the use of spectrum leasing arrangements. The Report and Order adopted rules permitting licensees in the Wireless Radio Services holding exclusive use licenses to lease some or all of the spectrum usage rights associated with their licenses to third parties. (The Commission also streamlined procedures for approving license assignments and transfers of control.)

In September 2004, the Commission released the Second Report and Order, Order on Reconsideration, and Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (pdf) , in which it provided for immediate (i.e., overnight) processing of certain qualifying spectrum leasing arrangements. (It also adopted immediate processing procedures for qualifying license assignment and transfer transactions.) In addition, it established a new regulatory concept, "private commons," to provide additional access to spectrum in licensed bands. Finally, the Commission is seeking comment on additional steps it should take to further the development of advanced technologies that enable more efficient secondary markets in spectrum usage rights.

Spectrum Leasing Arrangements

There are two general options for leasing spectrum usage rights:

1) Spectrum Manager Lease

Under this option, the licensee must retain both de jure control and de facto control over the spectrum that it leases to spectrum lessees for a defined period of time. There are two types of spectrum manager leases: 1) a short-term lease, which has an individual or combined term of not longer than one year, and 2) a long-term lease, which has an individual term, or a series of combined terms, of more than one year. The term of a lease cannot exceed the term of the license authorization (but can be extended at the time the licensee renews its license authorization).

The licensee must file a spectrum manager lease notification with the Commission using Form 608. Each such notification must be filed in advance of commencing any operations under the leasing arrangement. The Commission's general notification procedures require that the licensee submit the lease notification to the Commission at least 21 days in advance of operations, unless the lease is for one year or less in duration, in which case the licensee is required to submit the notification at least 10 days in advance of commencing operations. If, however, the particular spectrum leasing arrangement qualifies for the Commission's immediate processing procedures (based on establishing the requisite certifications in the notification), the notification will be processed overnight and operations may commence immediately thereafter.

2) de facto Transfer Lease

Under this option, the licensee retains de jure control of the license while transferring de facto control of the leased spectrum and the associated rights to the spectrum lessee for a defined period of time. There are two types of de facto transfer leases: 1) a short-term lease, which has an individual or combined term of not longer than one year and 2) a long-term lease, which has an individual term, or a series of combined terms, of more than one year. The term of a lease cannot exceed the term of the license authorization (but can be extended at the time the licensee renews its license authorization).

The licensee and spectrum lessee must file an application for a de facto transfer lease using Form 608, and must obtain Commission approval prior to commencing operations. Applications for long-term leasing arrangements (those longer than one year) are processed pursuant to the 21-day general approval procedures (unless issues are raised requiring additional time for Commission review). If, however, the long-term leasing arrangement qualifies for the Commission's immediate processing procedures (based on establishing the requisite certifications in the application), or if the leasing arrangement is short-term (one year or less), approval will be granted overnight and operations may commence immediately thereafter.

Sublease Arrangements

A Spectrum Manager Lessee may enter into a Spectrum Manager Sublease arrangement provided the licensee has consented to the agreement.

A Long-Term de facto Transfer Lessee may enter into either a Spectrum Manager Sublease or a de facto Transfer Sublease arrangement provided the licensee has consented to the agreement. (Note: Spectrum lessees with a Short-Term de facto Transfer Lease are not permitted to enter into subleases.)

Sublease notifications and sublease applications are filed manually with the FCC on Form 608 (pdf) .

Private Commons Arrangements

A licensee, spectrum lessee, or spectrum sublessee is permitted to make certain spectrum usage rights available to third-party users employing advanced communications technologies that involve device-to-device communications and do not involve the end-to-end physical network infrastructure of the licensee, spectrum lessee, or spectrum sublessee. The licensee, lessee, or sublessee must act as the manager of the private commons and must retain de facto control of the use of the spectrum by the third-party users.

Notifications for Private Commons arrangements are filed manually with the FCC on Form 608 (pdf) .

FCC Form 608 - Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Application or Notification for Spectrum Leasing Arrangement or Private Commons Arrangement

Like the FCC Form 601, the Form 608 is a multi-use form with a main form and several schedules. For complete information and instructions on filing the spectrum leasing form, please refer to the paper copy of the Form 608 (pdf) .

Except for applications and notifications involving spectrum subleases and private commons arrangements, and the few radio services that are permitted by the rules to file on paper, § 1.913(d), all spectrum leasing applications and notifications must be filed electronically via ULS. Electronic filing is easy!! Through the use of an application wizard, the form is completed in a question and answer format. Based on answers to questions at the beginning of the filing, ULS automatically presents the filer with the additional questions needed to complete the application or notification.

The application and the notification process for subleasing and private common arrangements is a manual one and is filed using a hard copy of Form 608 (pdf) .

The filing purposes for spectrum leasing arrangements are similar to the FCC Form 601:

  • LN - New
  • LM - Modification
  • LT - Transfer of Control
  • LE - Extend the Term
  • LC - Cancellation or Termination
  • LU - Administrative Update
  • WD - Withdrawal of a pending Notification or Application
  • AM - Amendment

Summary of the 608 Main Form and its Schedules

Submission of the 608 "Main Form" is required for every filing. It obtains information pertaining to the type of application or notification, the parties involved and their eligibility and qualifications, and the required certifications and signatures.

Schedule A is used to report "designated entity" information, if applicable, in order to determine if unjust enrichment provisions are applicable.

Schedule B obtains information on the terms of new spectrum leasing and subleasing arrangements.

Schedule C, applicable to spectrum leasing and subleasing arrangements involving geographic-based licenses, is used to add, modify, or delete technical location data for International Coordination, Environmental Assessment, or Quiet Zone Location.

Schedule D is used in the event of a Transfer of Control of a Spectrum Lessee or Sublessee.

Schedule E provides supplemental date information for a spectrum leasing arrangement, such as the commencement and expiration dates, and it is used to cancel a spectrum leasing arrangement or extend the term of a spectrum lease or sublease.

Schedule F is used when a geographic-based licensee is leasing a portion of the licensed spectrum or a defined portion of the licensed geographic area.

Schedule G is used when a geographic-based licensee is leasing an undefined portion of the licensed geographic area.

Schedule H is used when a microwave licensee is leasing one or more individual microwave links.

Schedule I is used to provide notification of a new private commons arrangement, as well as any modification, extension, or cancellation of an existing private commons arrangement. All private commons notifications must be filed manually.

Additional Form 608 Filings

In addition to the Form 608 filing purposes stated above, there are three types of filings that are not associated with specific purpose codes. First, to indicate that a spectrum lease arrangement never commenced, users may file a cancellation of the spectrum lease, and where appropriate on the application, indicate that the lease never commenced. Second, users may convert from a short-term de facto to a long-term de facto spectrum leasing arrangement by applying for a new spectrum lease and then canceling the original lease. And lastly, users may assign a spectrum lease by applying for a new lease and then canceling the original lease.

Responsibility for Filing

The chart below outlines the parties responsible for completing, certifying, and submitting the notification or application for spectrum leasing. Note that filings for spectrum subleasing or private commons arrangements are a manual process; they can not be filed in ULS.

SPECTRUM MANAGER LEASE
APPLICATION PURPOSE FILING RESPONSIBILITIES
New Lease or Extend the Term of a Lease Completed by Licensee, certified by Licensee and Lessee and submitted into ULS by Licensee.
Modification or Administrative Update of a Lease Completed by Licensee, certified by Lessee and submitted into ULS by Licensee.
Cancel a Lease Completed, certified and submitted into ULS by Licensee.
Transfer of Control of a Lessee (Pro Forma and Non Pro Forma) Completed by Licensee, certified by Transferor and Transferee and submitted into ULS by Licensee.

 

SPECTRUM MANAGER SUBLEASE
APPLICATION PURPOSE FILING RESPONSIBILITIES
New Sublease or Extend the Term of a Sublease Completed by Licensee, certified by Lessee and Sublessee and manually submitted to the FCC by the Lessee.
Modification or Administrative Update of a Sublease Completed by Licensee, certified by Sublessee and manually submitted to the FCC by the Lessee
Cancel a Sublease Completed by the Licensee, certified by the Lessee and manually submitted to the FCC by the Lessee.
Transfer of Control of a Sublessee (Pro Forma and Non Pro Forma) Completed by Licensee, certified by Transferor and Transferee and manually submitted to the FCC by the Lessee.

 

DE FACTO TRANSFER LEASE
APPLICATION PURPOSE FILING RESPONSIBILITIES
New Lease or Extend the Term of a Lease Completed by Licensee and the Lessee, certified by both parties and submitted into ULS by Licensee.
Modification or Administrative Update of a Lease Completed, certified and submitted into ULS by Lessee.
Cancel a Lease Completed, certified and submitted into ULS by Licensee.
Transfer of Control of a Lessee (Pro Forma) Completed by Lessee and Transferor, certified by Transferor and Transferee and submitted into ULS by Transferor.
Transfer of Control of a Lessee (non Pro Forma) Completed by Lessee, Transferor, and Transferee, certified by Transferor and Transferee and submitted into ULS by Transferor.

 

DE FACTO TRANSFER SUBLEASE
APPLICATION PURPOSE FILING RESPONSIBILITIES
New Sublease or Extend the Term of a Sublease Completed by Lessee and Sublessee, certified by both parties and manually submitted to the FCC by the Lessee.
Modification or Administrative Update of a Sublease Completed, certified manually submitted to the FCC by the Lessee.
Cancel a Sublease Completed, certified and manually submitted to the FCC by the Lessee.
Transfer of Control of a Sublessee (Pro Forma) Completed by Sublessee and Transferor, certified by Transferor and Transferee and manually submitted to the FCC by the Lessee.
Transfer of Control of a Sublessee (non Pro Forma) Completed by Sublessee, Transferor, and Transferee, certified by Transferor and Transferee and manually submitted to the FCC by the Lessee.

 

PRIVATE COMMONS ARRANGEMENTS
APPLICATION PURPOSE FILING RESPONSIBILITIES
License - New, Extend the Term, or Cancel a Private Commons Arrangement Completed, certified and manually submitted to the FCC by the Lessee.
Spectrum Manager Lease - New, Extend the Term, or Cancel a Private Commons Arrangement Completed by Licensee, certified by Lessee and manually submitted to the FCC by the Lessee.
Spectrum Manager Sublease - New, Extend the Term, or Cancel a Private Commons Arrangement Completed by Licensee, certified by Sublessee and manually submitted to the FCC by the Lessee.
de facto Transfer Lease - New, Extend the Term, or Cancel a Private Commons Arrangement Completed, certified and manually submitted to the FCC by Lessee.
de facto Transfer Sublease - New, Extend the Term, or Cancel a Private Commons Arrangement Completed, certified manually submitted to the FCC by the Lessee.

 

NOTE: Any buildout requirement (i.e., construction or coverage requirement), and its associated notification requirement, applicable under a license authorization remains a condition of the license and the legal responsibility for meeting the buildout obligation, as well as notifying the Commission that the buildout obligation has been timely-met, is that of the licensee; it can not be delegated to a spectrum lessee or sublessee. For more information on construction or coverage requirements pertaining to spectrum leasing, refer to § 1.9020(d) (5), § 1.9030(d) (5) and § 1.9035(d) (3).

ULS Searches

ULS license and application searches have been modified to include spectrum leasing arrangements and a new specialized search has been added for leases.

License Search

  • Automatically includes both licenses and spectrum leases in the search results unless a box is checked to exclude leases.
  • The search results page will display an "L" icon next to any license that has an authorized lease.
  • Spectrum leasing arrangements are easy to recognize; the lease identifier begins with "L" followed by 9-digits.
  • A "Leases" tab in license detail provides basic information on any lease(s) associated with the license and provides access to the lease(s) for more detailed information.

Spectrum Lease Search

  • A new ULS feature to search for spectrum leases, including searches on fields unique to leasing.
  • The spectrum lease search results page is standard ULS format with a link to lease details.
  • The spectrum lease detail page, also standard ULS format, is similar to license detail in that the lease information is displayed in tabs such as Main, Admin, Technical Data, and Market.

Application Search

  • The Transfer and Assignment application search has been enhanced to include spectrum leasing applications and has been renamed to "Secondary Markets Search" to more accurately reflect its use.
  • Lease-specific fields have been added to application search.

Manual Filing

For the few applicants who are permitted to file notifications and applications manually (§ 1.913(d)) and for all notifications and applications for subleases and Private Commons, the completed FCC Form 608 (pdf) must be mailed to the FCC.

Non-feeable applications:

Federal Communications Commission
1270 Fairfield Road
Gettysburg, PA 17325-7245

Feeable applications:

Federal Communications Commission
Wireless Bureau Applications
P. O. Box 979097
St. Louis, MO, 63197-9000

For the current fee amount, see the Wireless Fee Filing Guide.

Spectrum Leasing Radio Service List

Spectrum leasing is available in the radio services listed below. It is important to note that some radio services have restrictions on leasing activity. It is the applicant's responsibility to review all rules relating the spectrum leasing before filing an application.

SPECTRUM LEASING RADIO SERVICE LIST
RADIO SERVICE CODE RULE SECTION RADIO SERVICE
AW Part 27 Wireless Services (AWS), 1710-1755/2110-2155 MHz Bands
BC Part 27 1670-1675 MHz Band, Market Area
BR Part 27 Broadband Radio Service
CA Part 22 Air-Ground, Commercial (800 MHz)
CB Part 22 BETRS
CD Part 22 Paging and Radiotelephone, Site-Specific
CE Part 101 Digital Electronic Message Service, Common Carrier
CF Part 101 Point-to-Point Microwave, Common Carrier
CG Part 22 Air-Ground, General (454 MHz)
CJ Part 22 Air-Ground, Aviation Commercial (800 MHz), Auctioned
CL Part 22 Cellular Radiotelephone
CN Part 24 PCS, Narrowband
CO Part 22 Offshore Radiotelephone
CP Part 22 Paging, VHF/UHF (excluding 931 MHz), Market Area
CR Part 22 Rural Radiotelephone
CT Part 101 Local Television Transmission
CW Part 24 PCS, Broadband
CY Part 24 PCS, 1910-1915/1990-1995 MHz Bands, Market Area
CZ Part 22 Paging, 931 MHz, Market Area
DV Part 101 Multichannel Video Distribution and Data Service (MVDSS)
ED Part 27 Educational Broadband Service
GB Part 90 Business, 806-821/851-866 MHz, Conventional
GC Part 90 Paging, 929-930 MHz Exclusive, Market Area
GE Part 90 Public-Safety/Special Emergency, P-S National Plan, 806-817/851-862 MHz, Conventional (Rebanded)
GF Part 90 Public-Safety, National Plan, 821-824/866-869 MHz, Conventional
GI Part 90 Industrial/Land Transportation 896-901/935-940 MHz, Conventional
GJ Part 90 Business/Industrial/Land Transportation 809-824/854-869 MHz, Conventional (Rebanded)
GL Part 90 SMR 896-901/935-940 MHz, Site-Specific, Conventional (Rebanded)
GM Part 90 SMR 806-821/851-866 MHz, Site-Specific, Conventional (Rebanded)
GO Part 90 Industrial/Land Transportation 806-821/851-866 MHz, Conventional
GP Part 90 Public Safety/Special Emergency 806-821/851-866 MHz, Conventional
GR Part 90 SMR 896-901/935-940 MHz, Site-Specific, Conventional
GS Part 90 Paging, 929-930 MHz, Site-Specific
GU Part 90 Business 896-901/935-940 MHz, Conventional
GX Part 90 SMR, 806-821/851-866 MHz, Site-Specific, Conventional
IG Part 90 Below 800 MHz Industrial/Business Pool, Private, Conventional
IK Part 90 Below 800 MHz Industrial/Business Pool, Commercial, Conventional
LD Part 101 Local Multipoint Distribution Service (LMDS)
LS Part 90 Location and Monitoring Service (Multilateration)
LW Part 90 Location and Monitoring Service, 902-928 MHz Location Wideband (Grandfathered AVM)
MG Part 101 Point-to-Point Microwave, Private, Industrial/Business
MS Part 101 Multiple Address System
MW Part 101 Point-to-Point Microwave, Private, Public-Safety
NC Part 90 220 MHz Phase I, Commercial 5-channel, Nationwide
PC Part 80 Public Coast, Market Area
PE Part 101 Digital Electronic Message Service, Private
PW Part 90 Below 800 MHz Public-Safety Pool, Conventional
QA Part 90 220 MHz, Market Area
QD Part 90 220 MHz, Non-Nationwide Data, Site-Specific
QM Part 90 220 MHz, Non-Nationwide Public-Safety/Mutual Aid, Site-Specific
QO Part 90 220 MHz, Non-Nationwide Other, Site-Specific
QT Part 90 220 MHz, Trunked 5-Channel, Site-Specific
SG Part 90 700 MHz, Public-Safety, Conventional
SY Part 90 700 MHz, Public-Safety, Trunked
TC Part MSS Ancillary Terrestrial Component (ATC) Leasing
TN Part 101 39 GHz, Market Area
TZ Part 101 24 GHz, Market Area
WA Part 101 Point-to-Point Microwave, Private, Aviation
WM Part 101 Point-to-Point Microwave, Private, Marine
WR Part 101 Point-to-Point Microwave, Private, Radiolocation
WS Part 27 Wireless Communications Service (WCS)
WU Part 27 700 MHz Upper Band (Block C)
WX Part 27 700 MHz Guard Bands
WY Part 27 700 MHz Lower Band (Blocks A, B, E)
WZ Part 27 700 MHz Lower Band (Blocks C, D)
YB Part 90 Business 806-821/851-866 MHz, Trunked
YC Part 90 SMR 806-821/851-866 MHz, Market Area
YD Part 90 SMR 896-901/935-940 MHz, Market Area
YE Part 90 Public-Safety/Special Emergency, P-S National Plan, 806-817/851-862 MHz, Trunked (Rebanded)
YF Part 90 Public-Safety, National Plan 821-824/866-869 MHz, Trunked
YG Part 90 Below 800 MHz Industrial/Business Pool, Private, Trunked
YH Part 90 SMR, 806-821/851-866 MHz, Auctioned (Rebanded YC Licenses)
YI Part 90 Industrial/Land Transportation 896-901/935-940 MHz, Trunked
YJ Part 90 Business/Industrial/Land Transportation 809-824/854-869 MHz, Trunked
YK Part 90 Below 800 MHz Industrial/Business Pool, Commercial, Trunked
YL Part 90 900 MHz, SMR, Site-Specific, Trunked
YM Part 90 800 MHz SMR, Site-Specific, Trunked
YO Part 90 Industrial/Land Transportation 806-821/851-866 MHz, Trunked
YP Part 90 Public Safety/Special Emergency 806-821/851-866 MHz, Trunked
YS Part 90 SMR, 896-901/935-940 MHz, Site-Specific, Trunked
YU Part 90 Business 896-901/935-940 MHz, Trunked
YW Part 90 Below 800 MHz Public-Safety Pool, Trunked
YX Part 90 SMR, 806-821/851-866 MHz, Site-Specific, Trunked
ZV Part 95 218-219 MHz Service
Last reviewed/updated on
7/8/2010.

Universal Licensing System
Online Filing
License Search
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Application Search
Form 608

Main Form and Instructions (pdf)

Filing Procedures

Public Notice DA 06-1723 (pdf)