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Narrowband Personal Communications Service (PCS)

The Narrowband Personal Communications Service (PCS) is in the 901 – 902, 930 – 931, and 940 – 941 MHz spectrum range. The most common use of Narrowband PCS spectrum is two-way paging and telemetry. Telemetry includes services such as monitoring utility meters from an off-site location.

Background
The Narrowband Personal Communications Service (PCS) dates back to 1990 when the FCC released a Notice of Inquiry. In 1993, the FCC announced service rules for the Narrowband PCS Service.

Licensing
The FCC uses an auctions process to issue initial Narrowband PCS licenses. You can also gain access to Narrowband PCS licenses through the secondary market, which allows licensees to sell or lease spectrum.

You can find information about Narrowband PCS licenses in the Universal Licensing System (ULS). The ULS radio service code and description for Narrowband PCS licenses is CN – PCS Narrowband.

The FCC service rules for Narrowband PCS are located in 47 C.F.R. Part 24.

Market Areas and Channel Blocks
Narrowband PCS licenses are issued by FCC market areas and channel blocks.

FCC market areas consist of one or more counties. The market areas for Narrowband PCS are:

  • Nationwide Areas (NWA) – There is one NWA
  • Regional Narrowband PCS Areas (RPC) – There are five RPCs
  • Major Trading Areas (MTA) – There are 51 MTAs

Channel blocks are groups of frequencies. There are 32 channel blocks for Narrowband PCS. The channel blocks are:

Channel Blocks
Spectrum Amount
Market Areas
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 18, 19, 20 100 kHz NWA
6, 7, 8 62.5 kHz NWA
9, 13   Reserved
10, 11 50 kHz NWA
12 100 kHz RPC
14, 15, 16, 17 62.5 kHz RPC
21, 22 200 kHz NWA
23, 24, 25 150 kHz NWA
26, 27, 28 50 kHz MTA
29 100 kHz MTA
30 150 kHz MTA
31 200 kHz MTA
32 112.5 kHz MTA

Auctions
The first of five Narrowband PCS auctions started on July 25, 1994 and ended on July 29, 1994. The five auctions are:

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