Europe Offers Studies of 400 MHz Broadband for Private Mobile Radio for Public Consultation
Monday, November 05, 2018 | Comments

Europe has completed studies into using 400 MHz spectrum for private mobile radio, including public protection disaster response (PPDR) broadband networks. Under the developments, the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) proposed that the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) consider standardization activities for Long Term Evolution (LTE)-based systems for 410 – 430 MHz spectrum.

One new draft decision, two revised decisions and one new report concerning 400 MHz spectrum prepared by project team FM54, are in the public consultation process and should be finalized next year. Harmonized technical requirements for PPDR broadband services at 450 MHz and 700 MHz already exist.

In the revision of Electronic Communications Committee (ECC) Decision (16)02 , the 410 – 430 MHz band was added as another possibility for broadband for PPDR services.

The draft ECC decision (19)02 covers land mobile systems in the 68 – 87.5, 146 – 174, 406.1 – 410, 410 – 430, 440 – 450, 450 – 470 MHz frequencies. The decision finds land mobile systems using different channel bandwidths, and CEPT administrations have the right to decide which of the land mobile systems can be introduced in their national frequency allocation and use plan. Channel bandwidths vary from 6.25 kilohertz up to 5 megahertz, and the document defines technical requirements and considerations.

The spectrum can be used, for example, for digital Private Mobile Radio (dPMR), Digital Mobile Radio (DMR), TETRA, CDMA public access mobile radio (PAMR) or LTE-based land mobile systems. The spectrum can also be used for machine to machine (M2M)/internet of things (IoT) based on narrowband IoT (NB-IoT) and low-power WAN (LPWAN) technologies.

Broadband networks in Europe are already deployed in the Netherlands, Austria, Germany, Latvia, Russia, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Hungary and the Czech Republic providing connectivity for millions of devices using CDMA450 or LTE450 technology. These networks have been assigned nationwide licenses, and it is assumed that existing CDMA networks are likely to migrate toward LTE including enhanced machine-type communications (eMTC) and NB-IoT, said Thomas Weber, spectrum manager, CEPT European Communications Office (ECO).

The new draft ECC Report 292 provides a thorough overview of the situation in Europe for the 400 MHz frequency ranges to be used by land mobile systems. The new report includes guidance fostering the increased shared use of PMR channels, how administrations can amend their PMR/PAMR regulatory frameworks and how they could achieve more contiguous band segments for wideband and broadband systems. The report also recommends more flexible approaches for licensing and the adoption of a concept defining area licenses, as already used in the United Kingdom.

The draft revised ECC decision (16)02 outlines the harmonized technical conditions and frequency bands for the implementation of broadband PPDR (BB-PPDR) systems. The decision aims to identify the frequency ranges for BB-PPDR wide-area networks and provide CEPT administrations with least restrictive technical conditions (LRTC) for BB-PPDR to ensure coexistence with other services.

CEPT administrations with 700 MHz public-safety broadband systems shall apply the LRTC within the following three paired frequency arrangements: 698 – 703/753 – 758 MHz; 703 – 733/ 758 – 788 MHz; and 733 – 736/788 – 791 MHz.

In addition, CEPT administrations can introduce additional spectrum for BB-PPDR in parts of the 400 MHz range with LRTC channeling arrangements for 1.4-, 3- or 5-megahertz bandwidth within the following paired frequency ranges: 450.5 – 456/460.5 – 466 MHz; 452 – 457.5/462 – 467.5 MHz; 410 – 415/420 – 425 MHz; 411 – 416/421 – 426 MHz; and 412 – 417/422 – 427 MHz.

CEPT administrations shall allow free circulation and use of compliant BB-PPDR user equipment that operates under the control of a network.

The draft ECC decision (08)05 identifies the frequency bands for digital PPDR narrowband and wideband radio applications in the 380 – 470 MHz band using tuning ranges where necessary. Sufficient spectrum shall be made available for narrowband digital PPDR radio applications using channel bandwidth up to 25 kilohertz within the duplex bands 380 – 385/390 – 395 MHz designated for use by emergency services and/or for wideband digital PPDR radio applications using channel bandwidth of 25 kilohertz or more within available parts of 380 – 470 MHz, preferably in 380 – 430 MHz.

CEPT administrations shall exempt from individual licensing and allow the free circulation and use of terminals of narrowband and wideband digital PPDR systems operating under the control of a network within the band identified in this decision.

Europe began investigating a flexible harmonized approach for BB-PPDR several years ago.

The CEPT also updated Recommendation T/R 25-08 on planning criteria and coordination of frequencies in the land mobile service in the 29.7 – 470 MHz range. A revision was published in September. The revision includes new recommendations for the cross-border coordination of land mobile systems having different channel bandwidths on both sides of the border for the 400 MHz ranges. For the 700 MHz ranges, ECC Recommendation (16)03 exists on cross-border coordination for BB-PPDR systems at 698 – 791 MHz.

A September FM54 meeting drew 23 participants from 10 CEPT administrations, industry, operators, the 450 MHz Alliance, the European Utilities Telecoms Council (EUTC), and the ECO. Another meeting is set for December.

More information is here.

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