Spectrum sharing is nothing new. As a new research note on the subject points out, the ITU’s Radio Regulations have long conceived of primary, co-primary, and secondary allocations.
But sharing is nevertheless driving a lot of the spectrum policy agenda at the moment. We identify several reasons for this:
- New types of demand for spectrum where exclusive nationwide licences are not appropriate, such as Internet of Things applications;
- New spectrum horizons, including the mmWave bands identified for IMT at WRC-19;
- Technology innovation, in particular for spectrum sensing and automated databases;
- Eco-system support. A growing and diverse body of stakeholders if lobbying for spectrum sharing solutions.
Spectrum policy makers have responded to these factors in the past years by developing a series of policy initiatives. These run the gamut from simple unlicensed / licence-exempt spectrum management rules, where no particular service or user has priority, to sophisticated multi-tier database-supported systems that combine flexibility with predictability.