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Spectrum Leasing

Spectrum leasing is part of the FCC’s secondary market initiatives designed to remove regulatory barriers and increase access to spectrum. Licensees that hold “exclusive use” licenses can lease spectrum to third parties using two different arrangements: 1) Spectrum Manager leasing and 2) De Facto Transfer Leasing.

Information on how to file spectrum leasing arrangements is located in the spectrum leasing guide.

Background

In October 2003, the FCC announced rules permitting spectrum leasing. At the same time, the FCC established streamlined processing procedures for reviewing and approving spectrum leasing arrangements (as well as license assignments and transfers). These streamlined processing procedures reduced the public notice comment period from 30 days to 14 days in most cases.  

In September 2004, the FCC amended the spectrum leasing rules to allow immediate processing for certain types of spectrum leasing applications (as well as license assignments and transfers). These changes removed the public notice comment period altogether for certain spectrum leasing arrangements.

Spectrum Manager Leases

Spectrum Manager leases are one of two leasing arrangements allowed under the FCC’s rules. The other arrangement is called De Facto Transfer.

Under the Spectrum Manager arrangement, the licensee must retain both de jure control and de facto control over the spectrum that is leased.

There are two types of Spectrum Manager leases: 1) a short-term lease, which has an individual or combined term of not longer than one year, and 2) a long-term lease, which has an individual term, or a series of combined terms, of more than one year.

The term of a lease cannot exceed the term of the license authorization (but can be extended at the time the licensee renews its license authorization).

De Facto Transfer Leases

De Facto Transfer leases are one of two leasing arrangements allowed under the FCC’s rules. The other arrangement is called spectrum manager.

Under the De Facto Transfer arrangement, the licensee retains de jure control of the license while transferring De Facto control of the leased spectrum and the associated rights to the spectrum lessee for a defined period of time.

There are two types of De Facto Transfer leases: 1) a short-term lease, which has an individual or combined term of not longer than one year and 2) a long-term lease, which has an individual term, or a series of combined terms, of more than one year.

The term of a lease cannot exceed the term of the license authorization (but can be extended at the time the licensee renews its license authorization).

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