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What rules and procedures govern spectrum allocation?
Articles 22 to 24 of Federal Law 126-FZ (the Communications Law) set out general provisions on the regulation of spectrum.
Under these provisions, the State Commission for Radio Frequencies (GKRCh), under the Ministry for Digital Development, Connection and Mass Communications, is vested with the authority to regulate the use and allocation of spectrum in Russia. Spectrum frequencies are allocated in accordance with the Frequency Bandwidths Allocation Chart adopted by Government Decree 1049-34, dated December 21 2011. In addition to setting the framework for the use of spectrum and making general decisions on the possibility to use spectrum for the provision of specific services, the GKRCh issues permissions to use certain bandwidths and frequency channels. If a relevant radio frequency resource is limited in the territory that the operator applies for, the spectrum is allocated at auction.
The Federal State Unitary Enterprise Main Radio Frequency Centre analyses electromagnetic compatibility and issues expert evaluations of the potential allocation of spectrum to specific operators that have applied for permissions. This entity also oversees compliance with technical operation requirements for spectrum use in Russia.
Compliance with the terms of allocation of radio frequencies is supervised by the Federal Radio Frequency Service.
What fees apply to spectrum allocation/authorisation?
The Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Connection, Information Technologies and Mass Communications sets one-time fixed and annual fees regarding the relevant permissions for each user to use spectrum. The specific amounts are calculated on the basis of the methodology developed by the Ministry for Digital Development, Connection and Mass Communications and rates and co-efficients vary depending on:
- the frequency range;
- the number of frequency channels used; and
- the technologies applied for the use of the spectrum.
For Global System for Mobile Communications, Universal Mobile Telecommunications Systems, International Mobile Telecommunications Multi-Carrier 450, long-term evolution standards and their modifications, fees are calculated based on State Radio Frequency Commission decisions on the allocation of frequencies or telecoms services licences for the use of radio frequency spectrum.
Can spectrum licences be transferred, traded or sub-licensed?
There are limited options for the transfer of telecoms licences. A licence can be transferred to a legal successor under Article 35 of the Communications Law without additional approvals. In cases where the use of spectrum is involved, the reissue of a licence to a new licensee requires a prior transfer of the spectrum use permit. Further, when applying for the reissue of a licence, the applicant must inform the Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Connection, Information Technologies and Mass Communications of such prior transfer. A sub-licence where the original holder reserves rights or can revoke the grant of rights is impossible, as licences are issued in the name of one holder only.
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