Why are we talking about spectrum sharing?
Aug 20, 2020 by Toby Youell


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.

The research note, Why the growing interest in spectrum sharing, forms part of a new dossier on spectrum sharing. Spectrum Research Subscribers can access the research note here and the dossier here.