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Spectrum licences

The Norwegian Communications Authority (Nkom) describes the right of use granted by a spectrum licence by stating the bandwidth, location of the frequency spectrum, the geographical scope, duration of the licence and the spectral mask. If the licence holder wishes to use the frequencies in a manner which requires a greater degree of protection from other frequency users than what is stipulated in the spectrum licence, the holder must coordinate or enter into agreements concerning restrictions on use with other licence holders.

1. The geographical scope of the spectrum licences

The frequencies are primarily issued to be used for terrestrial radio services on Norwegian land territory with the exception of Svalbard, Jan Mayen and Norwegian dependencies. Some frequency bands permit applications for regional frequency licences. Players that desire access to nationwide blocks can apply for all the regional blocks on one band.

2. The bandwidth of the frequency blocks

Nkom bases the division of blocks on European or other international recommendations or nationally specified channel plans when these exist. In addition, Nkom takes into consideration the frequency interface in standards or other relevant technical specifications when we divide into blocks. Nkom will also take into consideration the minimum bandwidth that a party has expressed a desire to have access to.

The published overviews state the minimum bandwidth for which access can be applied for on the various frequency bands. Players that desire access to larger bandwidths can apply for several connecting blocks.

3. The duration of the spectrum licences

Nkom issues spectrum licences with durations of 8-25 years. The duration is determined based on factors such as the expected economic useful life of the radio equipment and assumptions about the investment horizon. In the specific decision concerning the duration, consideration can also be made to the various licences for parts of or entire frequency bands expiring at the same time. The reason for this is that this will contribute to simplifying a potential transition to other usage of the bands in the future.

4. Technical description of the spectrum licence and flexibility

A description of bandwidth, location in the frequency spectrum, geographical coverage and duration is not sufficient for fully defining the borders between different users’ rights. The technical description further defines the spectrum licence by precisely defining the limit for what each user can do. Nkom primarily stipulates the right that follows from a spectrum licence by defining the spectral mask at the limit of the assigned frequency block.

The technical delimitation is based on the use that presently appears to be the most relevant. If it should become relevant that there could be other usages that influence (interrupt) other licence holders to a greater extent than use that falls within the technical framework of the licence, coordination with or consent from the affected parties is required.

The party that wishes to use the frequencies in a manner that requires a higher degree of protection against interference from other frequency users than that provided for by the boundary between the licences, must itself make arrangements for such protection through coordination or agreements for such restrictions on use. Nkom refers to such coordination as private coordination.

Nkom does not set requirements that Nkom must be notified of or presented in any other way with agreements entered into as a consequence of private coordination  However, Nkom will deal with the party that is the holder pursuant to the spectrum licence when Nkom conducts supervisory activities. Therefore, it can be said that the party that acquires the right to use frequencies by entering into a private coordination agreement has the incentive to establish this right in writing such that the right can be documented.