Consultation on the Spectrum for Advanced Wireless Services and Review of the Mobile Spectrum Cap Policy

Table of Contents


1. Intent

This paper, announced in the Canada Gazette DGTP-007-03, initiates the public consultation to provide spectrum for Advanced Wireless Services. In view of the phenomenal growth of mobile and data services, the Department announced in the 1998 and 2001 editions of the Spectrum Release Plan that 80 MHz or more of spectrum would be made available for advanced mobile services in the 1 700 and 2 100 MHz ranges.

Recognizing the rapid evolution of technologies and the convergence of services, the Department does not wish to limit the range of potential services in this spectrum. Therefore, the dual mobile and fixed allocations will support a wide area of consumer related services under the flexible designation of Advanced Wireless Services (AWS). AWS is envisaged to include services such as mobile, fixed, multi-media, wireless high-speed internet, video services, high-speed mobile data and entertainment.

This consultation also initiates a full review of the spectrum cap policy. The spectrum cap applies to spectrum used for high-mobility services and would therefore be applicable to the new spectrum as well. Most PCS licensees have reached the maximum amount of spectrum allowed under the cap and have asked the Department for a full review of this policy.

On a separate but emerging issue, the Department is inviting comments on measures to promote advanced mobile telephony services in rural Canada.

This document is available electronically on the Internet at the following address: http://www.ic.gc.ca/spectrum. Industry Canada invites interested parties to provide their views and comments on the issues raised in this paper, in accordance with the instruction provided in the accompanying Notice, DGTP-007-03. Submissions must be received no later than January 19, 2004 to ensure consideration.


2. Background

2.1 Advanced Wireless Services

Mobile wireless communications is an important component of the Canadian telecommunications infrastructure, providing for a wide range of voice, data and multi-media services. High-speed fixed and mobile data and Internet applications promise to greatly contribute to the new and quickly emerging information economy. Worldwide mobile telephony access to public networks is fast approaching the number of fixed telephone lines. According to Statistics Canada, since 1999 the number of wireless access paths has increased by over 100% in Canada, allowing for more Internet access to be provided by portable devices such as mobile telephone terminals, Personal Digital assistants (PDAs), hand-held computers using mobile browsers and always-on Internet connections. The number of high-speed Internet connections is fast approaching the number of dial-up connections. It is expected that the trend towards high-speed connections will generate user expectations, with users demanding higher speed access for mobile and portable data and Internet applications.

The third generation of cellular services, commonly known as 3G, has been broadly defined as primarily a high-mobility service with a fixed service component. In the international Radio Regulations of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), it is known as IMT-2000 (International Mobile Telecommunications). In 1992, and again in 2000, a number of frequency bands were identified for IMT-2000 , including the cellular and PCS bands. The bands identified for IMT-2000 have primary allocations for fixed, mobile, and/or mobile-satellite service. Administrations have the flexibility to designate these resources for IMT. All the frequency ranges under consideration in this proceeding have been identified in ITU Radio Regulations for IMT applications, recognizing that this identification does not set any priority between different primary services which could operate in these bands.

The evolution of cellular and PCS networks towards packet-based third generation (3G) networks is well under way in Canada providing capabilities for a range of new services at higher data transmission speeds. Additional spectrum to the cellular and PCS spectrum is required to enable the full potential of mobile data and Internet applications. In order to forge some common descriptive terms for the use of the new spectrum in the North American marketplace, this consultation paper is adopting the wide definition outlined by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for Advanced Wireless Services. The term AWS includes most subscriber related radiocommunication services such as PCS, third generation cellular services, ITU IMT-2000, Fixed Wireless Access (FWA), wireless multimedia and other technical or marketing terms.

2.2 Canadian Initiatives to Allocate Spectrum

Several steps were taken by the Department over the years to prepare for the allocation and release of additional spectrum resources for AWS. The main objective was to identify spectrum in bands within 1 710 MHz to 2 200 MHz. In revising the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations in 1994, the Department entered the mobile service as a co-primary allocation in the band  110-2 200 MHz. This spectrum was identified at the 1992 ITU World Administrative Radio Conference (WARC-92) for future mobile systems. In the 1995 PCS spectrum policy (Gazette Notice DGTP-005-95/DGRB-002-95), the Department indicated that this band would eventually become available for additional PCS spectrum. A moratorium was imposed on any further licensing of fixed service in this band.Footnote 1

As part of the transition policy to free-up spectrum in the band 1 850-1 990 MHz from incumbent microwave installations for the implementation of PCS systems, the Department supported the re-tuning of existing fixed systems to the band 1 710-1 850 MHz. The 1995 Spectrum Utilization Policy 1-20 GHz, Revisions to Microwave Spectrum Utilization Policies in the Range of 1-20 GHz (SP  1-20 GHz) selected the band 1 710-1 850 MHz as a migration band for the retrofit of fixed systems affected by the introduction of PCS. However, this document included a cautionary note that this spectrum may be subject to a future policy review to determine whether it is required for other uses after the year 2000. In the 1999 Spectrum Utilization Policy 1-3 GHz, Amendments to the Microwave Spectrum Utilization Policies in the 1-3 GHz Frequency Range (SP 1-3 GHz), the Department discouraged any further licensing of microwave systems in this band in view of international developments pointing to its potential use for IMT-2000 and an allocation at the 2000 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-2000). The Department expressed the view that after the year 2000, the band 1 710-1 850 MHz could become prime spectrum for the expansion of PCS.

Since 1998, the Department and the wireless industry have been very active in the international fora in promoting the designation of spectrum in the bands 1 710-1 850 MHz and 2 110-2 150 MHz as additional resources for AWS networks. The 1 710 MHz and 2 110 MHz bands were the main Canadian proposals to the World Radiocommunication Conference 2000 and were included as part of the international designations in the ITU Table. Since large-scale commercial deployments of these networks are essential to ensure the success of these bands in Canada and to allow ubiquitous operations throughout North America and abroad, the Department and the Canadian industry have been very active in promoting these bands internationally since the WRC-2000 decision.

2.3 US Initiatives to Allocate Spectrum for Advanced Wireless Service (AWS)

Extensive debates and studies were carried-out by the US administration to identify practical spectrum that could be released for AWS in the bands 1 710-1 850 MHz, 2 110-2 165 MHz and 2 500-2 690 MHz. The US National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) was responsible for the studies of the government band 1 710-1 850 MHz, and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was responsible for the studies pertaining to the bands 2 110-2 165 MHz and 2 500-2 690 MHz.

In July 2002, the NTIA concluded that the band 1 710-1 755 MHz could be released and paired with spectrum in the 2 110-2 165 MHz range. Consequently, on November 7, 2002, the FCC issued a second Report and Order giving a primary allocation to mobile and fixed services and designating spectrum for AWS in the bands 1 710-1 755 MHz and 2 110-2 155 MHz.

In October 2001, the FCC announced the US decision to include a primary mobile allocation in the band 2 500-2 690 MHz and to develop service rules that would enable mobile operations. On March 13, 2003, at the petition of the incumbents of the band, the FCC adopted an NPRM seeking comments on service rules and possible band plans for the implementation of AWS in the 2 500-2 690 MHz range.

In addition, the FCC made a number of separate proceedings dealing with various bands. In February 2003, the FCC issued a decision allowing the terrestrial use of mobile satellite spectrum by ancillary terrestrial components (ATC) in order to complement Mobile-Satellite Services (MSS). In reaching this decision, the FCC recognized the need for additional AWS spectrum and noted the decreasing number of MSS applicants eligible to enter the US market under its rule-making in the 2 GHz band. Consequently, the FCC re-allocated 15 + 15 MHz of MSS spectrum for mobile and fixed services (potentially AWS) and reclaimed the spectrum bands 1 990-2 000 MHz, 2 020-2 025 MHz and 2 165-2 180 MHz. As part of this extensive consultation, the FCC is seeking comments on potential use and pairing of the MSS spectrum that is re-allocated, including a possible pairing with 10 MHz of licence-exempt PCS spectrum in the band 1 910-1 920 MHz with the band 1 990-2 000 MHz.

2.4 Principles Applicable to MSS Spectrum and Return Spectrum for MCS /MDS

In 1999 the Department issued the Spectrum Utilization Policy 1-3 GHz, which addressed the implementation of the mobile-satellite service in the bands 1 990-2 025 MHz and 2 165-2 200 MHz. In that document the Department listed a number of spectrum utilization considerations to be taken into account when licensing MSS systems at 2 GHz. One of these considerations was that the MSS spectrum should be harmonized over the North American market to ensure the economic viability of the service. Industry Canada recognizes that the licensing activities of global and regional MSS systems in other countries, particularly in the US, will have an impact on the number of new MSS systems. This will be taken into consideration in the designation of spectrum for particular systems and technologies and in the proposals regarding changes to MSS allocations.

Also, in the past year, recognizing the advantages of licensing contiguous spectrum for mobile services, the Department informed MCS and MDS licensees that the band 2 150-2 155 MHz designated as return spectrum for high-speed Internet would likely be designated for AWS, and that MCS and MDS operation would be subject to displacement. The moratorium imposed on licensing new fixed systems in the bands 1 990-2 025 MHz and 2 110-2 200 MHz remains in effect.


3. Proposed Changes to the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations

The Department is proposing a number of changes to the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations to reflect the decisions of the WRC-2000 and WRC-2003 regarding IMT-2000 and to enable the designation of additional spectrum for Advanced Wireless Services through spectrum utilization policies. These modifications to the Canadian Table are intended to reflect the public interest in introducing important wireless services which will benefit Canadians. The public interest for additional spectrum has been advanced by the Department and the wireless industry since 1998 in the Canadian preparations to the WRC-2000. Since then, the Canadian industry remained very active in the international fora in the development of standards and band plans which enable the deployment of mobile systems in these bands. The additional spectrum will facilitate a range of advanced mobile service offerings including high-speed Internet, which will further enable Canadians to fully participate in the new knowledge-based economy.

In making proposals for modifications to the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations, the following legend will be used:

ADD
indicates an international footnote created at the WRC-2000 or a proposed new Canadian footnote.
SUP
indicates a Canadian footnote proposed for suppression.
MOD
indicates an international footnote modified at the WRC-2000 and WRC-2003 or a Canadian footnote proposed for modification.
begin strikethroughStrikeout:end strikethrough
indicates the proposed removal of a radio service or footnote, or removal of specific text within a Canadian footnote.
Underlining:
indicates the proposed addition of a radio service or footnote, or the addition of specific text within a Canadian footnote.
C ZZ
identifies a Canadian footnote.
5.XXX
identifies an international footnote.

3.1 Bands 1 710-1 755 MHz and 2 110-2 155 MHz

The Sections 3.1.1 and 3.1.2 outline proposed allocation changes which would enable the designation to AWS in the band 1 710-1 755 MHz paired with the band 2 110-2 155 MHz.

3.1.1 Band 1 710-1 755 MHz

Summary of Proposed Changes

Currently, the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations provides for the fixed service on a primary basis and the mobile service on a secondary basis in the band 1 710-1 850 MHz. Other service allocations on a secondary status are provided through international footnotes 5.341, 5.385 and 5.386. The International Table has had the mobile service as a co-primary allocation with the fixed service in all regions since the WARC-92; however, the Department had not elected to enter the mobile service as primary in the Canadian Table. International developments have since then changed the perspective regarding this band.

In summary, the Department proposes:

  • to raise the mobile service to a primary allocation in the band 1 710-1 755 MHz and to remove the application of footnote C5 which limits mobile use to the Government of Canada.
  • to add a Canadian footnote CXYZ to facilitate the introduction of Advanced Wireless Services;
  • to adopt the new and modified international footnotes 5.384A and 5.385 agreed to at the WRC-2000; and
  • to remove the application of Canadian footnote C33 from the band 1 710-1 755 MHz since it does not apply in this new sub-band.
Proposed Changes to the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations MHz

1 710 - 1 755

FIXED
begin strikethroughMobile C5 end strikethrough
MOBILE ADD 5.384A

5.341 MOD 5.385 5.386 begin strikethroughC33end strikethrough ADD CXYZ

1 755 - 1 850

FIXED
Mobile C5

5.341 ADD 5.384A MOD 5.385 5.386 C33

ADD 5.384A (WRC-2000) The bands, or portions of the bands, 1 710-1 885 MHz and 2 500-2 690 MHz, are identified for use by administrations wishing to implement International Mobile Telecommunications-2000 (IMT-2000) in accordance with Resolution 223 (WRC-2000). This identification does not preclude the use of these bands by any application of the services to which they are allocated and does not establish priority in the Radio Regulations. (WRC-2000)

MOD 5.385 (WRC-2000) Additional allocation: the band 1 718.8-1 722.2 MHz is also allocated to the radio astronomy service on a secondary basis for spectral line observations. (WRC-2000)

C5 For the exclusive use of the Government of Canada.

C33 (CAN-94) In the bands 1 670-1 675 MHz and 1 800-1 805 MHz, the use of aeronautical public correspondence in accordance with No. 5.380 may be the subject of a future policy review.

ADD CXYZ (CAN-03) In the bands 1 710-1 755 MHz and 2 110-2 155 MHz, existing fixed stations will have priority over the mobile service until April 1, 2007. After this date, specific fixed stations will need to be displaced where necessary to enable the implementation of Advanced Wireless Services (AWS). The displacement of fixed stations as well as the implementation of AWS systems will be governed by a spectrum utilization policy. The earliest mandatory date for fixed service frequency assignment, that may be subject to displacement, will be April 1, 2007.

Discussion

As discussed in Section 2.2, the industry has been kept informed of the prospect of the bands 1 710-1 850 MHz and 2 110-2 150 MHz eventually being allocated, in part or in whole, for the mobile service. The WARC-92 decisions regarding high-mobility spectrum were incorporated in the 1995 Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations and the Department gave notice at that time that the spectrum from 2 110-2 150 MHz would be made available for future mobile services. An adequately paired band needed to be identified, and this was achieved through the identification of new frequency bands at WRC-2000. The mobile industry has been very supportive of the Departments’ efforts to identify new spectrum for mobile services.

The Department proposes to raise the mobile service to a primary allocation and remove the footnote which limits mobile use to the Government of Canada. The Department is of the view that a re-allocation of the band 1 710-1 755 MHz will serve the public interest and ensure that this spectrum is designated for AWS in order to achieve the best and highest use. The Department also proposes to incorporate the new international footnote 5.384A which identifies this band for IMT-2000 and to add a new Canadian footnote CXYZ which will facilitate the transition to the new AWS systems by giving these systems priority over existing fixed systems after April 1, 2007. This is similar to footnote C35 which facilitated the implementation of PCS in 1995. This displacement will be subject to a spectrum transition policy giving the existing fixed service incumbents an appropriate notification period.

Finally, the Department proposes to adopt the WRC-2000 modifications to the international footnote 5.385 with respect to the radio astronomy service in the band 1 718.8-1 722.2 MHz.

The Department seeks comments on the proposed changes to the Canadian Table for the bands 1 710-1 755 MHz and 1 755-1 850 MHz.

3.1.2 Band 2 110-2 155 MHz

Summary of Proposed Changes

The band 2 110-2 200 MHz is allocated on a primary basis to both the mobile and fixed services. There is also a primary allocation to Space Research for deep space from 2 110-2 120 MHz though Canada has no observatory station for deep space operations in this band. As indicated in Section 2.2, the Department made provisions as early as 1995 through the PCS policy framework to prepare this band for future mobile service implementation.

The Department proposes to make the necessary changes to the band 2 110-2 155 MHz so as to designate it for AWS and pair it with the band 1 710-1 755 MHz.

In summary, the Department proposes:

  • to adopt the WRC-2000 IMT-related international footnotes 5.388 and 5.388A and the modifications to 5.388A agreed to at WRC-2003 which refers to Resolution 221.
  • to suppress the Canadian footnote C35A and adopt a new Canadian footnote CXYZ regarding the implementation of AWS in this band as discussed in Section 3.1.1.

Proposed Changes to the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations MHz

2 110 - 2 120

FIXED
MOBILE
SPACE RESEARCH (deep space) (Earth-to-space)

MOD 5.388 SUP begin strikethroughC35A end strikethrough MOD 5.388A ADD CXYZ

2 120 - 2 155

FIXED
MOBILE

MOD 5.388 SUP C35A MOD 5.388A ADD CXYZ

MOD 5.388 (WRC-2000) The bands 1 885-2 025 MHz and 2 110-2 200 MHz are intended for use, on a worldwide basis, by administrations wishing to implement International Mobile Telecommunications-2000 (IMT-2000). Such use does not preclude the use of these bands by other services to which they are allocated. The bands should be made available for IMT-2000 in accordance with Resolution 212 (Rev. WRC-97) (See also Resolution 223 (WRC-2000)). (WRC-2000)

MOD 5.388A In Regions 1 and 3, the bands 1 885-1 980 MHz, 2 010-2 025 MHz and 2 110-2 170 MHz and, in Region 2, the bands 1 885-1 980 MHz and 2 110-2 160 MHz may be used by high altitude platform stations as base stations to provide International Mobile Telecommunications-2000 (IMT-2000) in accordance with Resolution 221 (Rev. WRC-03). Their use by IMT-2000 applications using high altitude platform stations as base stations does not preclude the use of these bands by any station in the services to which they are allocated and does not establish priority in the Radio Regulations. (WRC-03)

SUP C35A (CAN-98) In the band 2 110-2 160 MHz, the implementation of the mobile service will be the subject of future policy review.

ADD CXYZ (CAN-03) In the bands 1 710-1 755 MHz and 2 110-2 155 MHz, existing fixed stations will have priority over the mobile service until April 1, 2007. After this date, specific fixed stations will need to be displaced where necessary to enable the implementation of Advanced Wireless Services (AWS). The displacement of fixed stations as well as the implementation of AWS systems will be governed by spectrum utilization policies. The earliest mandatory date for fixed service frequency assignment, that may be subject to displacement, will be April 1, 2007.

Discussion

In the 1995 policy framework for the licensing of PCS spectrum, the Department recognized that in the future, additional spectrum would be required for the evolution and expansion of public commercial networks. The public interest in identifying new spectrum is discussed extensively in Section 2.2. An added interest is that the band 2 110-2 155 MHz can provide for a globally harmonized base-station band, which facilitates world-wide roaming capabilities and provides economies of scale.

The proposed allocation changes in the band 2 110-2 155 MHz will enable the implementation of AWS in accordance with the mobile service allocation made in 1995 and the Canadian position for a harmonized base-transmit band for IMT-2000. The proposed new Canadian footnote CXYZ and suppression of C35A will enable the implementation of AWS systems. The mobile service is already co-primary with the fixed service in this band. The band 2 110-2 155 MHz will be paired with the band 1 710-1 755 MHz. The Department also proposes to enter the modified footnote 5.388A in the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations. This footnote, adopted at WRC-2000 and modified at WRC-2003 addresses High Altitude Platform Systems (HAPS), an alternate mode of delivering IMT-2000. The Department is not aware of any immediate interest by Canadian operators to use HAPS as a complement to their infrastructure. However, it is possible that the development of HAPS will render the delivery of Advanced Wireless Services more economical for remote and rural areas. Technical rules have been addressed at the recent WRC-2003 regarding co-existence between HAPS and other terrestrial systems. (Resolution 221 incorporated by reference into footnote 5.388A.)

The Department seeks comments on the proposed changes to the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations for the band 2 110-2 155 MHz.

3.2 Bands 1 850-1 990 MHz, 1 990-2 025 MHz and 2 160-2 200 MHz

As outlined in Section 2.3, the FCC carried out public consultations in re-allocating additional spectrum for AWS in a number of sub-bands in addition to the bands 1 710-1 755 MHz and 2 110-2 155 MHz. In particular, in the January 2003 Report and Order the FCC re-allocated the bands 1 990-2 000 MHz, 2 020-2 025 MHz and 2 165-2 180 MHz from MSS to mobile and fixed use. Through the Third Notice of Proposed Rulemaking adopted at the same time, the FCC sought further comment on use of the band 1 910-1 920 MHz currently available for licence exempt PCS asynchronous applications (i.e. data), which is presently unused. The FCC proposed that this band be paired with the band 1 990-2 000 MHz to support the development of AWS and effectively extend the licensed PCS band. Another possible use for this spectrum could be the relocation of other wireless licensees.

The Department has not previously consulted on these bands with respect to the potential implementation of AWS. Therefore the Department wants to determine the public interest in making changes to the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations with respect to portions of the bands 1 850-1 990 MHz, 1 990-2 025 MHz and 2 160-2 200 MHz. A number of basic principles must be taken into account when considering allocation changes in these bands.

First, the successful development of licence-exempt products for mass distribution requires a large market, such as North America. As well, Canada’s experience in adopting digital cordless telephony in the 900 MHz band is a strong reminder that for consumer and business products to be successful, there is a compelling rational to align with the US market. Consequently, the prospect of Licence-Exempt PCS (LE-PCS) products being available for the Canadian market is doubtful considering the strong possibility that the FCC will re-allocate the sub-band 1 910-1 920 MHz for AWS.

As outlined in the Spectrum Utilization Policy 1-3 GHz spectrum utilization policy dealing with the mobile-satellite service at 2 GHz, the commercial viability of new generations of mobile satellites will require access to the North American market and beyond. As such, it is important to harmonize spectrum allocations and assignments under a common North American frequency plan. It is therefore timely for the Department to consult on proposed changes to the Canadian Table with respect to the 2 GHz MSS plan to support new terrestrial services.

3.2.1 Band 1 850-1 990 MHz

Summary of Proposed Changes

The 1992 World Radiocommunication Conference identified the bands 1 885-2 015 MHz and 2 110-2 200 MHz for the implementation of advanced mobile servicesFootnote 2 which have become known as IMT-2000 or 3G. In 1994 Canada allocated the band 1 850-1 990 MHz to the mobile service on a primary basis and established priority of mobile service over fixed service after July 1, 1997. In 1995, the bands 1 850-1 910 MHz and 1 930-1 990 MHz were designated for licensed PCS service. There are international footnotes adopted at WRC-2000 regarding IMT-2000 in the 1885-2025 MHz range that need to be reflected in the Canadian Table.

Also, the bands 1 910-1 920 MHz and 1 920-1 930 MHz were designated for LE-PCS, respectively for asynchronous (i.e. data) and isochronous (i.e. voice) communications. These bands are under consideration for a change of designation, from licence-exempt to licensed mobile services.

In summary, the Department proposes:

  • to adopt new and modified international footnotes in the band 1 850-1 990 MHz pertaining to IMT-2000 ; and
  • to consider new Canadian footnotes addressing potential designation changes to the band 1 910-1 920 MHz that could support licensed PCS. This would be subject to a spectrum utilization policy.

Proposed Changes to the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations MHz

1 850 - 1 970

FIXED
MOBILE

ADD 5.384A MOD 5.388 MOD 5.388A C35 ADD CZZZ

1 970 - 1 990

FIXED
MOBILE

MOD 5.388 MOD 5.388A 5.389B C35

ADD 5.384A (WRC-2000) The bands, or portions of the bands, 1 710-1 885 MHz and 2 500-2 690 MHz, are identified for use by administrations wishing to implement International Mobile Telecommunications-2000 (IMT-2000) in accordance with Resolution 223 (WRC-2000). This identification does not preclude the use of these bands by any application of the services to which they are allocated and does not establish priority in the Radio Regulations. (WRC-2000)

MOD 5.388 (WRC-2000) The bands 1 885-2 025 MHz and 2 110-2 200 MHz are intended for use, on a worldwide basis, by administrations wishing to implement International Mobile Telecommunications-2000 (IMT-2000). Such use does not preclude the use of these bands by other services to which they are allocated. The bands should be made available for IMT-2000 in accordance with Resolution 212 (Rev. WRC-97) (See also Resolution 223 (WRC-2000)). (WRC-2000)

MOD 5.388A In Regions 1 and 3, the bands 1 885-1 980 MHz, 2 010-2 025 MHz and 2 110-2 170 MHz and, in Region 2, the bands 1 885-1 980 MHz and 2 110-2 160 MHz may be used by high altitude platform stations as base stations to provide International Mobile Telecommunications-2000 (IMT-2000) in accordance with Resolution 221 (Rev. WRC-03). Their use by IMT-2000 applications using high altitude platform stations as base stations does not preclude the use of these bands by any station in the services to which they are allocated and does not establish priority in the Radio Regulations. (WRC-03)

ADD CZZZ (CAN-03) In the band 1 910-1 920 MHz the spectrum is currently designated for licence-exempt personal communication services to support asynchronous data transmission devices. The designation of this band to licensed PCS and advanced wireless service will be subject to a spectrum utilization policy.

Discussion

In 1997 the Department issued the Spectrum Utilization Policy Licence Exempt Personal Communications Services in the Frequency Band 1 910-1 930 MHz (SP-1910), to support the development and sale of LE-PCS products. The Electro-federation of Canada (EFC) undertook the task of coordinating the manufacturing industry’s activities in bringing LE-PCS products to the marketplace. The EFC was also tasked with coordinating the transition and displacement of fixed stations where necessary.

The Department notes that the development and distribution of LE-PCS devices to consumers and business users has been relatively slow. To the Department’s knowledge, there have been no products introduced for wide sale and distribution into the marketplace in the LE-PCS band 1 910-1 920 MHz for asynchronous data. As previously outlined, it is important that Canada harmonize the use of its spectrum with the US to succeed in the consumer market. The proposed changes seek the best and highest use of the spectrum by making provisions for the potential designation of the band 1 910-1 920 MHz to the services that will most benefit Canadians.

Finally, as discussed in Section 3.1 the Department notes that, at this time, there is no immediate interest to implement PCS systems using HAPS. However, as HAPS technology evolves, it may become an attractive way to provide coverage over large land masses in remote areas where terrestrial services are not otherwise economically viable.

The Department seeks comments on the proposed changes to the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations in the band 1 850-1 990 MHz.

3.2.2 Bands 1 990-2 025 MHz and 2 160-2 200 MHz

Summary of Proposed Changes

The Department has established a series of principles for licensing spectrum in the bands 1 990-2 025 MHz and 2 160-2 200 MHz for MSS networks. As discussed in Section 2.4, harmonized North American spectrum for satellite allocations is the driving principle for the proposed changes to MSS allocations. This recognizes the difficulty in coordinating different services with extensive footprints, and provides for a more viable commercial service. The Department proposes changes with a view to establish harmonized spectrum for North American mobile-satellite services and terrestrial wireless services.

In summary, the Department proposes:

  • to suppress the mobile-satellite service allocation in the bands 1 990-2 000 MHz, 2 020-2 025 MHz and 2 160-2 180 MHz;
  • to add a new Canadian footnote CYYY to designate the bands 1 990-2 000 MHz, 2 020-2 025 MHz and 2 155-2 180 MHz for the mobile and fixed services, subject to spectrum utilization policies;
  • to modify Canadian footnote C36 to reflect the proposed new bands for the mobile-satellite service; and
  • to add the new international footnote 5.351A dealing with MSS allocations. This footnote refers to resolutions pertaining to the satellite component of IMT-2000.

Proposed Changes to the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations
MHz

1 990 - 2 000

FIXED
MOBILE
MOBILE SATELLITE (Earth to space)
MOD 5.388 5.389A 5.389B begin strikethroughC36end strikethrough ADD CYYY

2 000 - 2 010

FIXED
MOBILE
MOBILE SATELLITE (Earth to space) ADD 5.351A

MOD 5.388 5.389A 5.389B MOD C36

2 010 - 2 020

FIXED
MOBILE
MOBILE SATELLITE (Earth to space)

MOD 5.388 5

.389C 5.389D 5.389E 5.390 MOD C36

2 020 - 2 025

FIXED
MOBILE
begin strikethroughMOBILE SATELLITE (Earth to space) end strikethrough

MOD 5.388 5.389C 5.389D 5.389E 5.390 begin strikethroughC36 end strikethrough ADD CYYY

2 160 - 2 180

FIXED
MOBILE
begin strikethrough MOBILE SATELLITE (space-to-Earthend strikethrough )

MOD 5.388 5.389A 5.389C 5.389D 5.389E 5.390 begin strikethroughC36end strikethrough ADD CYYY

2 180 - 2 200

FIXED
MOBILE
MOBILE SATELLITE (space-to-Earth) ADD 5.351A

MOD 5.388 5.389A 5.389C 5.389D 5.389E 5.390 MOD C36

MOD 5.388 (WRC-2000) The bands 1885-2025 MHz and 2 110-2 200 MHz are intended for use, on a worldwide basis, by administrations wishing to implement International Mobile Telecommunications-2000 (IMT-2000). Such use does not preclude the use of these bands by other services to which they are allocated. The bands should be made available for IMT-2000 in accordance with Resolution 212 (Rev. WRC-97) (See also Resolution 223 (WRC-2000)). (WRC-2000)

ADD 5.351A For the use of the bands 1 525- 1 544 MHz, 1 545-1 559 MHz, 1 610-1 626.5 MHz, 1 626.5-1 645.5 MHz, 1 646.5 - 1 660.5 MHz, 1 980- 2 010 MHz, 2 170- 2 200 MHz, 2 483.5-2 500 MHz, 2 500-2 520 MHz and 2 670-2 690 MHz by the mobile-satellite service, see Resolutions 212 (Rev.WRC-97) and 225 (WRC-2000). (WRC-2000)

MOD C36 (CAN-03) In the bands begin strikethrough1 990 - 2 025 end strikethrough 2 000-2 020 MHz and 2 1begin strikethrough60end strikethrough  80-2 200 MHz, a moratorium has been placed on the licensing of new systems in the fixed service. Existing fixed service systems operating in these bands will have priority over the mobile-satellite service until January 1, 2003. After this date, specific fixed service stations will be displaced, according to the transition policy, to enable the implementation of mobile-satellite service systems in certain sub-bands. The earliest mandatory date for fixed service frequency assignments that may be subject to displacement will be January 1, 2003.

ADD CYYY In the bands 1 990-2 000 MHz, 2 020-2 025 MHz and 2 155-2 180 MHz, the implementation of Advanced Wireless Services, within the mobile and fixed service allocations, will be subject to a spectrum utilization policy.

Discussion

In 1993, the Department proposed to adopt the WARC-92 conference decisions pertaining to the mobile-satellite serviceFootnote 3 in the 2 GHz range. Following this consultation, the primary allocation to the mobile-satellite service was adopted in the international bands 1 970-2 010 MHz and 2 160-2 200 MHz.

WRC-95 then made changes to the Region 2 allocations for MSS, replacing the band 1 970-1 980 MHz with the band 2 010-2 025 MHz. The worldwide MSS allocations in the bands 1 980-2 010 MHz and 2 170-2 200 MHz, and the Region 2 MSS allocation in the band 2 160-2 170 MHz were left unchanged. Canada and a number of other Region 2 countries joined a footnote 5.389B which requires that mobile satellite bands do not constrain the development of PCS operations in the band 1 980-1 990 MHz. These modifications were also adopted in the Canadian Table. The band 2 160-2 200 MHz was left unchanged in the Canadian Table hence the bands 1 990-2 025 MHz and 2 160-2 200 MHz became the 2 GHz mobile-satellite service bands for North America.

The Department allocated these bands to the mobile-satellite service as a means of providing the spectrum for new generations of satellites and advanced services to all regions of Canada. Considering the ubiquity of mobile satellite coverage and extensive market potential, there was an expectation during the mid 1990s that the mobile-satellite service would be a highly successful business. However, the popularity of the terrestrial cellular and PCS systems and their extensive coverage has had an impact on the business case of mobile-satellite services. It is now expected that many of the planned mobile satellite systems will not materialize. Also, the technological developments and the use of multi-beam satellites will increase the frequency re-use and reduce the spectrum requirement for this service. Finally, the use of mobile satellite spectrum needs to be coordinated with adjacent countries and these satellites need to have contiguous spectrum for the US market and beyond to succeed.

The US has decided to re-allocate the MSS spectrum in the bands 1 990-2 000 MHz, 2 020-2 025 MHz and 2 165-2 180 MHz to the mobile and fixed services. Cross-border coordination between the mobile-satellite service and terrestrial services is difficult considering the large size of satellite beams and service areas.

Recognizing the growth of the PCS systems, the Department is considering the expansion of the PCS spectrum and the pairing of the band 1 910-1 920 MHz with the band 1 990-2 000 MHz. Also, in keeping with the principles applicable to the implementation of mobile satellite systems, the Department is considering harmonizing the allocations with the US and proposes to suppress the mobile-satellite service allocation in the bands 1 990-2 000 MHz, 2 020-2 025 MHz and 2 160-2 180 MHz. This spectrum would then become available in the future for terrestrial services as suggested in the proposed new Canadian footnote CYYY which designates the bands 1 990-2 000 MHz, 2 020-2 025 MHz and 2 155-2 180 MHz for the mobile and fixed services, subject to spectrum utilization policies. Should these modifications be adopted, the Canadian footnote C36 will need to be updated to reflect the proposed new bands for the mobile-satellite service. Finally, the Department is considering adopting the WRC-2000 footnote, 5.351A, which deals with the satellite component of IMT-2000.

The Department seeks comments on the proposed changes to the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations in the bands 1 850-1 990 MHz, 1 990-2 025 MHz and 2 160-2 200 MHz.

3.3 Band 2 155-2 160 MHz

Summary of Proposed Changes

The Department recognizes the benefits of contiguous spectrum for the delivery of mobile services. The Department has proposed that the band 2 110-2 155 MHz be used for the base transmit component for the implementation of AWS. The band 2 150-2 155 MHz is currently assigned for the subscriber return spectrum for MCS services. As discussed in Section 2.4, licensees have been advised of the likely re-assignment to mobile services. With respect to the remainder of the MCS/MDS subscriber return spectrum, the Department proposes that it be governed by future spectrum utilization policies.

In summary, the Department proposes:

  • to adopt the modifications to footnote 5.388 pursuant to WRC-2000;
  • to suppress the Canadian footnote C35A;
  • to enter the international footnote 5.388A adopted at WRC-2000 and modified by WRC-2003, allowing the use of High Altitude Platform Systems (HAPS) as base stations in the IMT-2000 service, and operating in the bands 1 885 MHz - 1 980 MHz and 2 110-2 160 MHz ; and
  • to add a new Canadian footnote CYYY to designate the bands 1 990-2 000 MHz, 2 020-2 025 MHz and 2 155-2 180 MHz for the mobile and fixed services, subject to future spectrum utilization policies.

Proposed changes to the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations MHz

2 155 – 2 160

FIXED
MOBILE

MOD 5.388 SUP begin strikethroughC35Aend strikethrough MOD 5.388A ADD CYYY

MOD 5.388 (WRC-2000) The bands 1 885-2 025 MHz and 2 110-2 200 MHz are intended for use, on a worldwide basis, by administrations wishing to implement International Mobile Telecommunications-2000 (IMT-2000). Such use does not preclude the use of these bands by other services to which they are allocated. The bands should be made available for IMT-2000 in accordance with Resolution 212 (Rev. WRC-97) (See also Resolution 223 (WRC-2000)). (WRC-2000)

MOD 5.388A In Regions 1 and 3, the bands 1 885-1 980 MHz, 2 010-2 025 MHz and 2 110-2 170 MHz and, in Region 2, the bands 1 885-1 980 MHz and 2 110-2 160 MHz may be used by high altitude platform stations as base stations to provide International Mobile Telecommunications-2000 (IMT-2000) in accordance with Resolution 221 (Rev. WRC-03). Their use by IMT-2000 applications using high altitude platform stations as base stations does not preclude the use of these bands by any station in the services to which they are allocated and does not establish priority in the Radio Regulations. (WRC-03)

SUP C35A (CAN-98) In the band 2 110-2 160 MHz, the implementation of the mobile service will be the subject of future policy review.

ADD CYYY In the bands 1 990-2 000 MHz, 2 020-2 025 MHz and 2 155-2 180 MHz the implementation of Advanced Wireless Services within the mobile and fixed service allocations will be subject to a spectrum utilization policy.

Discussion

The band 2 155 - 2 160 MHz is currently designated for MCS and MDS spectrum, for use by subscribers as a return channel. The US have designated the adjacent band, 2 110- 2 150 MHz for AWS and has reduced their MSS allocation to enable AWS up to 2 180 MHz. The US has not concluded on the designation of the 5 MHz of sp ectrum from 2 155 - 2 160 MHz. Furthermore, considering the relocation of terrestrial users in the lower part of the MDS band in the US (2 150-2 155 MHz), the band 2 155- 2 160 MHz might remain available for incumbents for a few years to come. However, recognizing the benefits of contiguous spectrum for mobile services, the Department proposes to include this 5 MHz in the Canadian footnote CYYY. Canadian footnote C35A would also be suppressed. The Department proposes to adopt the international footnotes from WRC-2000 and revisions to 5.388A of WRC-2003 related to HAPS.

The Department seeks comments on the proposed changes to the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations in the band 2 155-2 160 MHz.


4. Proposals for Spectrum Utilization Policies

The Department indicated its intention to license additional PCS or AWS spectrum in order to permit the wireless industry to plan for new mobile services as well as for technological development. As indicated in Section 3.2, the industry has been informed of the proposal that the spectrum in the bands 1 710- 1 755 MHz and 2 110-2 155 MHz be re-allocated for new services to better serve Canadians. Other bands as proposed in Sections 4.2 and 4.3 would be added through this consultation based on the fact that the US has made allocation decisions and are considering further re-allocation in certain bands such as the licence-exempt PCS band. Such changes can impact equipment availability in Canada. Preparing for similar changes would continue to ensure a harmonized North American mobile infrastructure.

4.1 Proposal for the Bands 1 710-1 755 MHz and 2 110-2 155 MHz

The Department has proposed a number of changes in the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations, as specified in Section 3, to accommodate Advanced Wireless Services based on future spectrum policy decisions. In particular, Canadian footnote CXYZ proposes that mobile services have priority over fixed services after April 1, 2007. Fixed microwave installations will be subject to displacement based on the proposed transition policy outlined in Section 6. The April 1, 2007 date provides microwave licensees some certainty and a time line prior to which displacement can not be mandated.

In making the proposed changes to the spectrum allocations, the Department is setting an environment for flexible and innovative use of the spectrum to enable the deployment of AWS. Advanced Wireless Services include, but are not limited to, third generation cellular services. The envisaged services include voice, video and data, both mobile and fixed, with increasing transmission capacities. The Department wishes to encourage flexibility to innovate in technology and service applications which can be supported within the fixed and mobile service allocations and international and domestic regulations.

The objective of the proposed changes to the Canadian Table is to harmonize the North American public wireless infrastructure, thereby providing economies of scale and roaming benefits to subscribers and service providers. The Department proposes to designate the band 1 710-1 755 MHz to support mobile terminal transmit, with the pairing of the band 2 110-2 155 MHz for base station transmit for the provision of Advanced Wireless Services. The Department envisages that this spectrum will be released through a competitive licensing process in the 2005/2006 time frame.

The Department seeks comments on the proposed spectrum policy to designate the paired bands 1 710-1 755 MHz with 2 110-2 155 for Advanced Wireless Services, including 3G.

The Department seeks preliminary comments and suggestions on the size of spectrum blocks and the pairing and combination for the channelization of the paired bands which would best advance the Canadian wireless infrastructure and serve the public interest.

4.2 Proposal for a Spectrum Utilization Policy in the Bands 1 910-1 920 MHz and 1 990-2 000 MHz

The Department is seeking comments on the interest and need to designate additional spectrum to expand the licensed PCSPCS bands (1 850-1 910 MHz and 1 930-1 990 MHz) by pairing the band 1 910-1 920 MHz with the band 1 990-
2 000 MHz, should the re-arrangement of the LE-PCS designation and the MSS allocation be found to be in the best public interest. Since 1997, the lower part of the band 1 910-1 930 MHz has been assigned to licence-exempt PCS under Spectrum Utilization Policy 1 910. To date very little equipment has been developed for LE-PCS products in the 1 910-1 920 MHz. Canada relies on a North American or world market for consumer license-exempt products to be successful. The FCC is strongly considering re-assigning the licence-exempt PCSPCSPCS sub-band 1 910-1 920 MHz, to licensed to PCS. This would have the advantage of adding another 20 MHz to the planned release of 90 MHz of paired spectrum in the 1 700 MHz and 2 100 MHz bands.

The Department seeks comments on the interest and need to designate the bands 1 910-1 920 MHz and 1 990-2 000 MHz for the extension of the band 1 850-1 990 MHz for PCSPCS or AWSAWS. The Department is seeking views on whether a new designation for this band would best serve the public interest and put the spectrum to the best and highest use.

4.3 Proposal for the Bands 2 020-2 025 MHz and 2 155 - 2 180 MHz

As discussed in the proposed changes to the Canadian Table, the Department is proposing a new footnote CYYY indicating that the bands
2 020-2 025 MHz and 2 155-2 180 MHz will be the subject of a future spectrum utilization policy for the introduction of AWSAWSAWSAWS. The Department would like to establish the interest and need to designate this spectrum to AWS or other services. In view of the asymmetrical size of the band, the Department will not propose a specific pairing but rather seeks comments on possible implementation of AWS.

The Department seeks comments on the interest and need to designate the bands 2 020-2 025 MHz and 2 155-2 180 MHz to particular terrestrial services or applications.


5. Review of the Mobile Spectrum Cap Policy

5.1 Background

In 1995, the Department announced a policy framework and process to license new spectrum in the bands 1 850-1 910 MHz and 1 930-1 990 MHz (2 GHz PCS bands) and established a mobile spectrum cap policy. The spectrum cap policy established an aggregation limit of 40 MHz as the maximum amount of spectrum a wireless carrier and its affiliates could hold. The spectrum identified under the cap included the 800 MHz cellular band spectrum, the 2 GHz PCS bands and spectrum used for similar high-mobility telephony service such as Enhanced Specialized Mobile Radio systems (ESMR). By limiting spectrum concentration, the spectrum cap policy helped establish a level playing field among the licensees with the aim to foster competition and choice of services to consumers. Other policy provisions were also introduced to advance competition, such as issuing national licences, imposing resale and roaming of analog cellular service, requiring resale of PCS among carriers and establishing a minimum roll-out of services in each region of Canada.

During the late 1990's, Canada experienced a renewed competitive environment in the provisioning of mobile telephony services with strong marketing rivalry, a significant decrease in pricing and a wide range of service packages responsive to consumer demand. The PCS industry invested heavily in new digital infrastructures and achieved annual subscription growth rates exceeding 20%. In general, the spectrum cap was viewed favourably, as having assisted new PCS entrants in financing new networks, stimulating competition and fostering the introduction of new services.

In 1999, the Department launched a full review of the spectrum cap policy in preparation for the licensing of the remaining 40 MHz of PCSPCS spectrum which had been held in reserve since 1995. The Department concluded that maintaining the spectrum cap while increasing it from 40 MHz to 55 MHz would continue to foster competition, safeguard against spectrum concentration and give reasonable opportunities to all interested parties in acquiring new spectrum. The wireless industry structure was somewhat altered with the acquisition of a national PCSPCSPCS licensee by a regional PCSPCS/cellular licensee (i.e. the acquisition of Clearnet by TELUS Mobility). In 2000, a spectrum framework for the PCS spectrum auction was established with open eligibility, allowing for any Canadian company to bid for the spectrum. The spectrum was auctioned by regional areas and in blocks of
10 MHz to respond to the particular regional spectrum needs of the wireless carriers. Most of the new spectrum sold at the auction was acquired by incumbent PCS carriers and this has resulted in an industry with four national carriers. The current situation is that three of the PCSPCS carriers are at, or are near, the 55 MHz spectrum cap limit in several regions of Canada.

In 2001, at the request of an ESMR service carrier, the Department initiated a review of the treatment of ESMR spectrum under the spectrum cap policy. A decision was announced on April 5, 2003 which changed the calculation of the aggregation of the frequencies used by ESMR systems. A maximum of 10 MHz of aggregated ESMR spectrum will count toward the mobile spectrum cap limit which is currently at 55 MHz.Footnote 4

In summary the 1995 spectrum cap has assisted new entrants in launching PCSPCS systems and in competing with incumbent cellular operators. Since the new entrants acquired a reasonable amount of spectrum under a national licence, these carriers were able to obtain financing and deploy their networks to provide competition and choice of a range of PCS offerings. The increase of the spectrum cap to 55 MHz in 1999 permitted the PCS carriers and others to acquire additional spectrum.

5.2 Measures Introduced by Other Countries to Oversee Spectrum Concentration

Many industrialized countries introduced measures in the 1990s to advance fair competition in the mobile wireless industry and to safeguard against spectrum dominance that could undermine competition and affordable services.

In 1994, the US established a mobile spectrum cap with the auctioning of 2 GHz PCS spectrum. The cap included the cellular, PCS and ESMR spectrum. The ESMR spectrum counted to a maximum of 10 MHz within the 45 MHz cellular/PCS/ESMR spectrum cap. In 1999 the US carried out a further review and simplified their spectrum cap provisions. They concluded that the spectrum cap would remain at 45 MHz in urban areas but would be set at 55 MHz in rural areas. Another full review of the spectrum cap and competition in the mobile industry was launched, and the FCC concluded in 2001 that the spectrum cap would be:

  1. unified at 55 MHz everywhere immediately; and
  2. rescinded completely effective January 1, 2003.

This decision was made on the basis that there was sufficient competition in the US marketplace with 6 national and 2 regional carriers. Since January 1, 2003 there is no longer a spectrum cap imposed on the cellular/PCS/ESMR service providers in the US and the removal of the spectrum cap did not precipitate any major acquisition or merger in the major market areas.

Although the wireless mobile industry has been deregulated in the US, the FCC continues to have regulatory oversight on a number of service issues such as the implementation of emergency E 911, lawful access and quality of service.

European countries have not established specific spectrum cap limits but have instead relied on a number of regulatory measures and licensing decisions that have influenced the industry structure, competition and spectrum holdings. In certain licensing proceedings, some administrations have imposed eligibility restrictions such as a spectrum set aside for new entrants or a limit to the amount of spectrum a bidder can acquire. In an approach quite different to that used in Canada and the US, many European administrations prescribed the mobile services and technologies which have to be implemented in particular bands. These policy instruments have had significant impact on the European industry structure and competitive environment.

5.3 Overview of the Mobile Wireless Industry in Canada

In Canada, through a series of decisions in the 1990's, the CRTC has gradually deregulated the mobile telephone services and forborne from regulating the services and tariffs. The CRTC has maintained oversight on mobile telecommunications carriers including intervention in instances of alleged anti-competitive behaviour, network interconnection or other issues such as contribution to high-cost serving areas, and emergency 911 service or numbering resources. In a report entitled Status of Competition in Canadian Telecommunications Markets dated December 2002, the CRTC indicated that the mobile and Internet access markets continued to be relatively competitive. In terms of service revenues, the mobile market surpassed the long distance market in 2001 as the second largest segment. According to Statistics Canada, total mobile revenues increased in 2002 by over 15% compared to 2001. Four major mobile entities accounted for over 99% of the mobile market, with no entity dominating in terms of either revenues or subscribers. By the end of 2002, there were approximately 12 million subscribers and the revenues accounted for about 23% of the total telecommunications service revenue.

The Department commissioned a study in 2001 with Wall CommunicationsFootnote 5 to assess the Canadian wireless industry. Certain conclusions were reached which merit consideration. According to Wall Communications, airtime was priced for most users at $.50 per minute with a $40 monthly charge prior to the introduction of PCS. These rates have greatly diminished and many packages do not require long-term service contracts.

Since the last review of the spectrum cap in 1999 by the Department, the industry structure has changed such that now three of the four PCS carriers are incumbent regional or national cellular licensees. The wireless industry is going through an important period of building new advanced digital infrastructures and providing greater transmission speeds for a range of data services.

5.4 Spectrum Cap Policy Review

As discussed in this document, the Department proposes to allocate at least 90 MHz of new spectrum to accommodate Advanced Wireless Services, including 3G. It is anticipated that this new spectrum will be licensed in the 2005/2006 time frame.

To date, a total of 170 MHz of spectrum has been licensed to support the evolving cellular/PCS infrastructure. As the Department is planning to release additional spectrum and as some of the wireless carriers are approaching the existing 55 MHz cap, it is timely to have a full review of the spectrum cap policy. As a minimum, the spectrum cap limit of 55 MHz needs to be increased in order to permit wireless carriers to acquire new spectrum resources to expand their networks, and introduce new services until approximately the year 2010. The Department believes that any changes to the spectrum cap policy should be announced in sufficient time before the licensing of new spectrum.

In moving forward with the spectrum cap review, the Department needs to determine the public interest in retaining the mobile spectrum cap policy or any competitive benefits in rescinding the spectrum cap altogether. This consideration should take into account the general telecommunications objectives of the Telecommunications Act. With four national PCS networks in place, an extensive coverage of the Canadian population, a service penetration approaching 40%, a new era of mobile data service emerging and a substantial amount of new spectrum to be released, the Department believes that it is timely to consider whether the spectrum cap continues to be relevant and serve the public interest in advancing competition and ensuring choice of services to consumers.

The Department invites comments on the following issues with a view to establish the public interest:

  • Would the retention of a mobile spectrum cap continue to play an important role in fostering competition and choice of services to Canadians? Provide the rationale for your position.
  • Would the removal of the mobile spectrum cap enable the wireless carriers to offer greater choice of services to consumers and foster competition? Provide the rationale for your position.
  • Could concern regarding significant dominance in spectrum holdings be addressed through other mechanisms? Please specify what these mechanisms could be and indicate related conditions - for example limiting the amount of spectrum which could be acquired in the licensing process or relying solely on the provisions of the Competition Act.
  • If the Department was to determine that the retention of a mobile spectrum cap is in the public interest, at what limit should it be set? Please provide a rationale for the limit you propose.
  • When should the decision on the spectrum cap become effective?
  • What other information could assist the Department in determining the public interest in considering changes to the mobile spectrum cap?

6. Proposed Transition Policy for Dealing with Incumbents

6.1 General Principles when Re-assigning Spectrum

The Spectrum Policy Framework for Canada (2002) outlined, among other things, the policy guidelines dealing with the allocation of spectrum resources and the displacement of radio systems. The Policy Framework states that the frequency spectrum is a public resource which needs to be allocated and planned to advance public policy objectives. It also states that access to the spectrum would be adapted to meet changing user requirements and to facilitate new and innovative services. Industry Canada's policy, pursuant to the Radiocommunication Act and Regulations, and enunciated in the Spectrum Policy Framework for Canada, remains that a radio licence does not confer ownership or continued right to a particular radio frequency, and that reasonable notice is to be given to users of any conditions or circumstances that could result in the displacement of their services or systems to other bands. Moreover, there is no liability or responsibility or intent by Industry Canada to financially compensate spectrum users who become displaced. These long-standing principles have been used successfully for many years to introduce new radio services, taking into account the needs of the incumbents.

6.2 Current Situation in the Band 1 710-1 755 MHz

In the 1995 Spectrum Utilization Policy 1-20 GHz, the band 1 710-1 850 was selected as a migration band for fixed systems affected by the introduction of PCS in the band 1 850-1 900 MHz. However, this document included a cautionary note that the band 1 710-1 850 may be subject to a future policy review to determine whether it is required for other uses after the year 2000. In the 1999 Spectrum Utilization Policy 1-3 GHz, the Department discouraged any further licensing of microwave systems in this band in view of international developments pointing to the potential use of this band for IMT-2000 and an allocation at WRC-2000. Taking into account the WRC-2000 decision to identify the band 1 710-1 850 MHz for Advanced Mobile Services (IMT-2000) and the proposals of the present document to implement that decision domestically, the Department is now placing a moratorium on the licensing of any new fixed microwave stations in the band 1 710-1 755 MHz. Since there is no immediate need to vacate the band 1 755-1 850 MHz, fixed stations may continue to operate in this band until further notice.

Policy Provision: Effective immediately there is a moratorium on the licensing of new fixed microwave stations and on the addition of frequencies to existing microwave systems in the band 1 710-1 755 MHz.

6.3 Current Situation in the Band 2 110-2 150 MHz

This spectrum is allocated on a co-primary basis for the mobile and fixed services and was identified at WARC-92 for mobile systems eventually known as IMT-2000. In the 1995 PCS Spectrum Policy (Gazette Notice DGTP-005-95/DGRB-002-95), the Department indicated that this band would eventually become available for additional PCS spectrum. A moratorium was imposed effective January 21, 1995 on any further licensing of new fixed microwave stations in the bands 1 990-2 010 MHz and 2 110-2 200 MHz in order to facilitate the introduction of emerging wireless communications.

6.4 Current Situation in the Band 2 150-2155 MHz

In the 1999 policy and licensing procedureFootnote 6 for the use of the
2500 MHz band for MCSMCSMCS services, 10 MHz from the band 2 150-2 160 MHz was designated for subscriber return channels. The first 6 MHz
(2 150-2 156 MHz) was designated for MCS return channels and 4 MHz
(2 156-2 160 MHz) was designated for MDS return channels. This was intended to support MCS and MDS licensees in providing high-speed Internet services.

In 2002, MCS and MDS licensees were informed that 2 110-2 155 MHz was proposed to be used for 3G spectrum and that no new licences for the return spectrum would be issued except under the condition that operations would not impede the deployment of 3G. When that occurs the MCS and MDS incumbents will be subject to displacement in accordance with their licence conditions and the proposed transition policy. The licence conditions state that the notification period applied to incumbents in the band 2 110-
2 155 MHz would apply.

The Department is working on finding suitable alternate return spectrum in other frequency bands.

6.5 Proposed Transition Policy for Displacement of Fixed Assignments

In Section 3 of this document, the Department proposed Canadian footnote CXYZ which would make the mobile service a priority designation over the fixed service on April 1, 2007 at which point mandatory displacement would come into effect based on this policy and licensing time lines. This provision is intended to provide fixed service licensees sufficient time to plan their migration. Fixed licensees would be afforded a notification period before displacement following the AWS licensing process which is anticipated to be in the 2005/2006 time frame.

Considering the prospective re-allocation of the bands 1 710-1 850 MHz and 2 110-2 155 MHz for mobile service has been known for some time, the moratorium imposed on the fixed service and the anticipated licensing of the spectrum in the 2005/2006 time frame, the Department proposes that a short notification time frame for displacement of fixed stations is appropriate in major urban centres.

The Department proposes to adopt the same transition provisions which presently apply to the PCS band 1 850-1 990 MHz, as enunciated in the Policy and Licensing Procedures for the Auction of the Additional PCS Spectrum in the 2 GHz Frequency Range issued June 28, 2000.

In summary, the transition policy is based on releasing spectrum on a "where necessary" basis; the existing fixed stations will be subject to displacement, with a minimum one-year notification period, if they affect the deployment of Advanced Wireless Services in urban areas or in specific geographic areas such as along major highway corridors. A two-year minimum notification period applies to fixed stations in all other areas.

Once the new spectrum has been licensed and licences have been granted (i.e. currently expected to be in the 2005/2006 time frame), new mobile licensees may request that the Department serve notifications to specific stations. These notifications will be served on a where necessary basis for the deployment of the new service.

The Department invites comments on the proposed spectrum transition policy for the displacement of incumbents in the bands 1 710-1 755 MHz and 2 110-2 155 MHz.

The Department also welcomes views from microwave licensees or other existing service providers on which bands could best meet their service requirements for the future.


7. Measures to Promote Advanced Mobile Telephony Services in Rural Canada

For expediency, the Department is using this consultation paper to seek comments on a separate but emerging issue which may facilitate the development of advanced digital mobile telephony services in underserved rural and remote areas of Canada. The conclusion of this issue will be addressed separately from this consultation on AWS.

7.1 Background

A general objective of the Telecommunications Act is to promote the availability of reliable and affordable telecommunications service to all regions of Canada. Due to the economics of rural communications, the availability of advanced and innovative telecommunications services tends to lag behind the services available in urban areas. Over the years government and regulatory authorities have taken steps to ensure essential telecommunications and broadband services are extended to remote and rural communities so that all Canadians can fully participate in the emerging information society. Steps have been taken in the areas of communications satellites, single party-line telephone service, dial-tone Internet access, increasing access to broadband Internet, increasing the availability of spectrum for fixed wireless access and extending mobile cellular service in rural areas.

In 1998, the Department implemented Radio Systems Policy 019, Policy for the Provision of Cellular Services by New Parties (RP-019) to foster the expansion of cellular telephony services to unserved and underserved areas of Canada. In general, the current policy facilitates access to the 800 MHz cellular spectrum by new parties wanting to develop mobile cellular telephony services or fixed wireless access facilities. Under the policy, third parties (parties which were not affiliated with either of the incumbent cellular providers) can apply for authorization to provide cellular telephony services to communities and along highways where cellular service is either not available (unserved areas) or only available from one wireless carrier (underserved areas).

In the consultation process leading to the formulation of the new party cellular policy, the Department considered whether the policy should be extended to include digital PCS spectrum at 2 GHz. At that time, the PCS operators were beginning to implement their digital networks and it was the view that extending the policy provisions to PCS would constrain the normal implementation of these networks in populated areas and vicinities. At the time, the analogue cellular networks in the 800 MHz band provided the best opportunity in terms of coverage and affordable equipment to serve areas with a low population density. Commercial roaming arrangements were already readily available for analogue cellular service, and therefore this was not an issue.

At the time of licensing the national and regional PCS carriers in 1995 for the 2 GHz spectrum, conditions of licence were imposed on the existing cellular mobile carriers to afford commercial arrangements to new PCS carriers for analogue cellular telephony roaming and resale at 800 MHz using dual mode PCS/Cellular terminals. An objective of the cellular roaming provision was to extend the mobile telephony service coverage of new PCS carriers to their subscribers during the implementation phase of their 2 GHz PCS network since the incumbent cellular carriers had established mature national analogue cellular service coverage. Consequently, the condition of licence imposed on the national and regional cellular carriers at 800 MHz does not include the offering of a digital cellular telephony roaming arrangement.

7.2 Discussion

Recently there have been certain changes in digital technology and in the availability of 2 GHz PCS spectrum which may be used to develop advanced digital mobile telephony and ancillary services in rural and remote communities of Canada.

The 2 GHz PCS spectrum licensed in 1995 was assigned to PCS carriers, or alliances of PCS carriers, on a national basis. The carriers were expected to develop national wireless networks in all regions of Canada over a period of time.

With the auction of the remaining 2 GHz PCS spectrum in 2001, bidders were able to acquire specific blocks of spectrum for certain geographic areas, mostly along provincial boundaries, to further develop PCS services. In 2001, the auction resulted in 52 of the 62 PCS spectrum licences being awarded to three incumbent PCS operators and a new entrant. The 10 remaining PCS spectrum licences, mostly in rural areas, received no bidding activity and are consequently available for assignment.

Furthermore, there are opportunities to acquire mobile spectrum through secondary market trading by new entrants to develop advanced digital PCS service. The Department has indicated that it wishes to extend the enhanced privileges of transferability and divisibility to the 800 MHz cellular and 1995 PCS licensees.

The Department also notes that analogue cellular equipment will be discontinued by most major manufacturers within 5-8 years. Also, some of the national operators are discontinuing the sale of stand-alone analogue cellular and this infrastructure is being replaced by digital telephony networks.

Two situations are emerging that may impact the development of advanced digital telephony services in rural areas:

  1. New carriers gaining access to the 800 MHz cellular spectrum through the New Party Cellular Policy may wish to offer digital telephony and ancillary services using digital technology (second generation and beyond) already adopted by the four national PCS carriers. Some of these small rural carriers have requested that the Department facilitate the development of commercial roaming arrangements due to their unique circumstances. The Department believes that the public interest would be served if these rural wireless carriers acquiring 800 MHz spectrum could be readily afforded commercial roaming arrangements with the 800 MHz networks of the national PCS carriers in cases where the rural carriers do not compete with the national PCS carriers in their network serving territories.
  2. With the availability of 2 GHz spectrum through various means as described above, the new rural carriers may be operating in an unserved and/or underserved rural and remote part of Canada where the provisioning of advanced digital mobile telephony and ancillary services is of importance to Canadians. The Department believes the public interest would be served if these rural carriers are readily afforded commercial roaming arrangements with national PCS carriers in cases where the rural carriers do not compete directly with the national PCS carriers in their network serving territories.

The Department notes that digital telephony roaming service is commonly available to foreigners travelling in Canada or to Canadians travelling in many regions of the world. It is expected that Canadian subscribers of rural carriers benefit from similar roaming services. As mobile telephony services have become an essential service to many Canadians, it is important that, without affecting or distorting competition in urban areas of Canada, these rural networks be fully integrated into the national telecommunications system.

New rural carriers, that do not compete in any other area with national cellular or PCS carriers, warrant special consideration in reaching commercial digital roaming arrangements to assist the integration of their services with other national or regional telecommunication systems. Permitting non-competing operators to enter into preferential digital roaming arrangements with established national and regional carriers, may be justified due to their unique situation and the public interest, in view of the objectives of the Telecommunications Act.

7.3 Invitation to Comment

In order to foster the development of advanced digital mobile telephony and ancillary services in unserved and underserved areas by the national cellular and PCS carriers, the Department is predisposed to assisting non-competing rural carriers in the integration of their networks and services with the rest of the national telecommunication system.

One specific issue that this section of this paper addresses is how the Department can assist in facilitating the commercial roaming arrangements with national and regional PCS carriers for rural carriers meeting criteria outlined in the above two cases or in other similar cases. There are several mechanisms being considered including; the statement of a Departmental policy with regards to affording commercial roaming for non-competing rural carriers in unserved or underserved areas of Canada; or, the statement of a policy and imposing a new condition of licence on the existing national and regional PCS carriers.

There is no intent by the Department to affect any new or ongoing commercial roaming and resale arrangements or to affect fair competition or any action by the CRTC under the Telecommunications Act.

The Department invites comments on:

  1. The proposal to afford preferential commercial roaming arrangements to small rural carriers with national and regional cellular and PCS carriers where the rural carriers;
    1. do not compete in the same serving territories having network facilities, and
    2. operate solely in an unserved or underserved area.
  2. The mechanisms that may best implement this proposal.

8. Next Steps

After having reviewed all the input received during this phase of public consultation, the Department will publish a second paper outlining its decision on allocation, designation, spectrum utilization policy and transition policy. Also, the Department will issue its decision with regards to the mobile spectrum cap policy review. The next consultation paper will address the policy, technical, and licensing framework for the licensing of new spectrum for AWS. The Department may also separately address measures to promote advance mobile telephony services in rural Canada.

Issued under the authority of the Radiocommunication Act

Larry Shaw
Director General
Telecommunications Policy Branch

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