SP 4940 MHz — Spectrum Utilization Policy, Technical and Licensing Requirements for Broadband Public Safety in the Band 4940–4990 MHz

6. Licensing Issues

6.1 Spectrum Licensing

As noted in Section 4, the band 4940–4990 MHz is primarily allocated to mobile broadband systems. Each licensee will be granted a spectrum licence for the full 50 MHz covering their area of jurisdiction. Individual site-licences will not be required. However, licensees may be required to provide technical information which would be entered into a database. Details regarding the process and format required for submission of this information are outlined in Client Procedures Circular 2-1-23 Licensing Procedure for Spectrum Licences for Terrestrial Services (CPC-2-1-23). Licensees in the same or overlapping geographical area will be required to cooperate and coordinate usage of this band.

6.1.1 Licence Term

The Department proposed and maintains that spectrum licences be issued for the band 4940–4990 MHz on a non-exclusive basis with a term of 10 years. In response to the consultation, respondents were generally supportive of the proposed licensing regime.


The Department will issue non-exclusive spectrum licences with a 10-year term. Annual fees are payable to the Department by March 31, of each year.

6.1.2 Licence Fees

In the consultation, the Department sought comment on a proposed spectrum licence fee for the band 4940–4990 MHz for public safety use. In conjunction with the release of this policy paper, a separate Canada Gazette notice will be published that will provide notification of the licence fee, as per the User Fees Act, and a further opportunity for public comment.

6.2 Site Licensing

Fixed systems not operating as part of the mobile public safety 4940–4990 MHz system may be licensed for other public safety communication systems, on a secondary basis and at the discretion of the district director. This will allow sufficient flexibility to support a variety of public safety applications. These systems will be licensed on a site-by-site basis using the procedure outlined in Radio Standards Procedure 113, Application Procedures for Planned Radio Stations above 960 MHz in the Fixed Service (RSP-113).

7. Technical Considerations

7.1 Radiated Power Limits

The following section specifies the technical requirements for the authorization of public safety systems operating in the band 4940–4990 MHz.

7.1.1 Mobile and Fixed Operations

The transmitting power of stations operating in the band 4940–4990 MHz must not exceed the maximum limits specified below. However all systems should be limited to the power necessary to provide adequate coverage.

7.1.2 Limits for Operation of High-power Devices

Limits for operation of high-power devices
Channel Bandwidth
Peak Transmitter
Power (dBm)
1 20
5 27
10 30
15 31.8
20 33

Devices may use other channel bandwidths, however high-power devices are limited to a peak power spectral density of 21 dBm per MHz. If a directional gain greater than 9 dBi is used, both the peak transmit power and the peak power spectral density should be reduced by the equivalent amount.

For high-power fixed point-to-point and point-to-multipoint operation, a directional gain up to 26 dBi may be used, however if it exceeds 26 dBi, both the peak transmit power and the peak power spectral density should be reduced by the equivalent amount.

7.1.3 Limits for Operation of Low-power Devices

Limits for operation of low-power devices
Peak Transmitter
Power (dBm)
1 7
5 14
10 17
15 18.8
20 20

Devices may use other channel bandwidths, however low-power devices are limited to a peak power spectral density of 8 dBm per 1 MHz. If a directional gain greater than 9 dBi is used, both the peak transmit power and the peak power spectral density should be reduced by the equivalent amount.

7.2 Certification of Equipment

All radio equipment must be certified by the Department. The Department will release a Radio Standards Specification (RSS) at a later date to specifically address this issue. Out-of-band emission limits will also be specified.


The Department affirms the limits set out in Sections 7.1.2 and 7.1.3 to be the official radiated power limits for the band 4940–4990 MHz.

7.3 Radio Interoperability

Although a number of organizations (e.g. TIA TR8.8 Subcommittee, Project MESA, and Safecom) are currently assessing the requirements for standards for broadband public safety, none have been unanimously adopted and therefore most of the comments received did not recommend the imposition of a specific standard for radio interoperability purposes. It was suggested that the Department allocate spectrum in a technology neutral manner and not require a common/open standard.

The Department recognizes that in order to allow radio interoperability between public safety agencies, consideration must be given to planning and coordination, standards and technology and spectrum requirements. As such, the Department has recently released Canada Gazette Notice No. SMSE-005-06 entitled Consultation Paper on Public Safety Radio Interoperability Guidelines to propose definitions and a hierarchy of radio interoperability levels as well as suggested guidelines to allow the capability for radio interoperability within bands designated for public safety use.


At this time, the Department is not establishing a dedicated channel for radio interoperability nor recommending a specific common/open standard. However, radio interoperability is considered an essential feature for public safety applications and the Department may establish radio interoperability guidelines based on the results of the consultation process initiated by Notice No. SMSE-005-06 entitled Consultation Paper on Public Safety Radio Interoperability Guidelines.

The Department requires public safety users to implement systems which are interoperable with all public safety entities so that they can function effectively when an emergency arises. As a result, applicants are required to submit to the Industry Canada district director, a radio interoperability plan which includes agencies operating within their jurisdictional area as well as those in overlapping or adjacent jurisdictional areas. Final determinations as to required licensing conditions pertaining to interoperability will be made by the district director.

The Department will continue to monitor the activities of standards development organizations for a widely adopted broadband public safety standard. A decision will then be made on the applicability of these standards to this band.

7.4 System Coexistence Guidelines

All licensees shall cooperate in the selection and use of channels in order to reduce interference and make effective use of the spectrum. Licensees who experience or cause interference (even though the technical specifications of both this SP and the appropriate RSS are met) are expected to cooperate and jointly resolve issues to ensure equitable access to the spectrum by all operators.

All data and calculations used in the coordination shall be retained by the licensees and be made available to the Department upon request.

When conflicts between systems cannot be resolved, the Department should be advised. Following consultations with the affected parties, the Department will determine the necessary course of action. This may include the imposition of restrictions such as specifying transmitter power, antenna heights, area or hours of operations of the stations involved.


The Department affirms the guidelines as set out in Section 7.4 to be the official system coexistence guidelines.

7.5 International Coordination

The use of 4940–4990 MHz is currently covered by Arrangement D of the Exchange of Notes between the Government of Canada and the Government of the United States of America Concerning the Coordination and Use of Radio Frequencies Above Thirty Megacycles per Second.3 The governments of Canada and the United States expect to review the terms of this arrangement to take into account the new allocation and use of the band.


The Department affirms that licensees will be required to comply with any future Canada-United States sharing arrangements for the use of the band 4940–4990 MHz.

8. Conditions of Licence for Spectrum Licences

The following conditions of licence apply to licensees for radio frequency spectrum in the band 4940–4990 MHz. Spectrum licences for this band will be issued on a non-exclusive basis. It should be noted that licences are subject to relevant provisions in the Radiocommunication Act and the Radiocommunication Regulations. For example, the Minister continues to have the power to amend the terms and conditions of spectrum licences (paragraph 5(1)(b) of the Radiocommunication Act).

8.1 Licence Term

The term of this licence is 10 years. Licensees must pay the annual licence fee before March 31st of each year for the subsequent year (April 1st to March 31st).

8.2 Eligibility Criteria

Licensees must comply on an ongoing basis with the eligibility criteria in sections 9 and 10 of the Radiocommunication Regulations.

Licensees must request the approval of the Minister of Industry for any change that would have a material effect on their eligibility. Such approval must be received in advance of any proposed transactions of which licensees have knowledge. For more information, refer to Client Procedures Circular 2-0-15, Canadian Ownership and Control (CPC-2-0-15), as amended from time to time.

8.3 Radio Station Installations

For each radio station, licensees must ensure that: all requirements prescribed in the Client Procedures Circular 2-0-03, Environmental Process, Radiofrequency Fields and Land-Use Consultation (CPC-2-0-03), as amended from time to time, are respected; and radio installations are installed and operated in a manner that complies with the requirements of the spectrum utilization policy for this band.

8.4 Provision of Technical Information

When the Department requests technical information on a particular station or on a network, the information must be provided by licensees to the Department according to the definitions and criteria specified by the Department. Refer to CPC-2-1-23, Appendix B — Site Data Elements, for a list of minimal radiocommunication installation data elements required for the Department's technical database.

8.5 Laws, Regulations, and Other Obligations

Licensees are subject to, and must comply with, the Radiocommunication Act, the Radiocommunication Regulations, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Radio Regulations, the Canadian Table of Frequency Allocations and the spectrum utilization policy pertaining to this radio frequency band. The licence is issued on condition that the certifications made in the application materials are all true and complete in every respect.

8.6 Technical Considerations

Licensees must comply with the technical requirements set forth in this spectrum utilization policy and must deploy equipment certified under the appropriate RSS. The RSS sets out standards for broadband public safety equipment in the band 4940–4990 MHz.

8.7 International and Domestic Coordination

Licensees must comply with the requirements of cross-border sharing and coordination arrangements established between Canada and the United States, as amended from time to time. While frequency assignments are not subject to site-by-site licensing, licensees may be required to provide technical data to Industry Canada for given sites. This data may be requested for reasons such as the resolution of coordination conflicts as well as possible interference issues. Should international coordination be required, Industry Canada will identify the appropriate data elements, format and means of submission. Coordination between licensees within Canada will follow similar procedures as those used in international coordination.

Issued under the authority
of the Radiocommunication Act

Larry Shaw
Director General
Telecommunications Policy Branch


3 This reference can be found on Industry Canada's Spectrum Management and Telecommunications website

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