As of June 12, 2010, use of wireless microphones (and similar devices certified as “low power auxiliary stations”) operating in frequencies between 698 and 806 MHz (the 700 MHz Band) is prohibited. This FCC rule applies to all users of 700 MHz Band wireless microphones (and similar devices) – including theaters, churches, schools, conference centers, theme parks and musicians.
Wireless microphone operations outside of the 700 MHz Band are not affected by this action and may continue.
Prior to June 12, 2010, certain wireless microphones (and similar devices) operated in frequencies that are now reserved for public safety. When this equipment was first designed, the frequencies they used were in between the frequencies that television stations used to broadcast television programs. With the completion of the digital television (DTV) transition on June 12, 2009, television stations no longer use the frequencies between 698 and 806 MHz (the 700 MHz Band) for broadcast. These frequencies are now being used by public safety entities (such as police, fire and emergency services) and by commercial providers of wireless services (such as wireless broadband services).
The wireless microphones (and similar devices) that operate in the old TV broadcast channels can cause harmful interference to the new services on those channels. Therefore, use of wireless microphones (and similar devices) operating on any of the frequencies in the 700 MHz Band – by both licensed users (under Part 74) and unlicensed users – is prohibited.
To ensure that the new public safety and wireless broadband services can operate effectively, the Federal Communications Commission prohibited, effective January 15, 2010, the import, sale, offer for sale or shipment of wireless microphones (and similar devices) intended for use in the 700 MHz Band in the United States. The FCC has also adopted a number of consumer safeguards for the users of wireless microphones, which inform consumers of their rights and obligations in operating wireless microphones.
Manufacture, Distribution and Sale of 700 MHz Wireless Microphones Prohibited
As of January 15, 2010, the FCC prohibits the import, sale, offer for sale or shipment of wireless microphones and other low power auxiliary stations (i.e. similar devices) intended for use in the 700 MHz Band in the United States. This prohibition will help complete an important component of the DTV transition by clearing the 700 MHz band to enable the rollout of new communications services for public safety and for next generation wireless services for consumers.
The FCC permits wireless microphones and similar equipment to operate in spectrum bands outside of the 700 MHz Band, including the core TV spectrum (TV channels 2-51, except channel 37). In addition, wireless microphones and similar equipment operate at lower power levels in unlicensed bands such as the 902-928 MHz and the 2.4 GHz bands. For wireless microphones and similar equipment that operate in the core TV spectrum, the FCC requires that the following consumer disclosure be displayed at the point of sale or lease.
Most users do not need a license to operate this wireless microphone system. Nevertheless, operating this microphone system without a license is subject to certain restrictions: the system may not cause harmful interference; it must operate at a low power level (not in excess of 50 milliwatts); and it has no protection from interference received from any other device. Purchasers should also be aware that the FCC is currently evaluating use of wireless microphone systems, and these rules are subject to change. For more information, call the FCC at 1-888-CALL-FCC (TTY: 1-888-TELL-FCC) or visit the FCC’s wireless microphone website.
The disclosure requirement does NOT apply to the sale of wireless microphones and similar equipment that operate outside of the core TV spectrum. For example, the disclosure requirement does not apply to wireless microphones that may operate on a licensed basis in the 169-171 MHz band (see 47 C.F.R. Section 90.265) or on an unlicensed basis in the 902-928 MHz or the 2.4 GHz bands (see 47 C.F.R. Section 15.247).
Identifying 700 MHz Wireless Microphones
The FCC’s website provides information about which wireless microphones currently operate in the 700 MHz band. Consumers may look up equipment by manufacturer. The website also includes information about how to contact manufacturers for more detailed information about wireless microphone equipment. View the contact information for the equipment manufacturers.
Some wireless microphones (and similar devices) are marked with the frequency the device uses. If information on the device indicates that it operates on frequencies between 698 and 806 MHz, then the device uses 700 MHz spectrum and may not be used after June 12, 2010.
Consequences for Using a 700 MHz Band Wireless Microphone
Using the 700 MHz Band for a wireless microphone (or a similar device) after June 12, 2010 could be extremely dangerous and could even be life threatening. Police and fire departments, and other public safety groups, use frequencies in the 700 MHz Band. Interference from wireless microphones can affect the ability of public safety groups to receive information over the air and respond to emergencies. Harmful interference to these communications could put you or public safety personnel in grave danger. In addition, use of your microphone can cause unlawful interference to consumer services provided using the 700 MHz Band.
Operation of wireless microphones in violation of these rules may subject the user to substantial monetary forfeitures and/or criminal penalties, including imprisonment. Because any operation in violation of these rules creates a danger of interference to important radio communications services and may subject the operator to severe penalties, this advisory emphasizes the importance of complying strictly with these legal requirements.
Reporting Interference on Devices Operating on Licensed 700 MHz Spectrum
Public Safety Licensees: If you are a Public Safety Licensee you may report interference to your 700 MHz device by contacting the FCC Operations Center 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at (202) 418-1122, or FCCOPCenter@fcc.gov.
Consumers: If you are a consumer that is using a device that operates on licensed 700 MHz spectrum, you may report interference to the FCC at www.fcc.gov/complaints.
- Click on “Wireless Telephone” for the type of complaint, then click “next” at the bottom of the page.
- Click on “Interference to Non-Emergency Devices” for the complaint category, then click “Next” at the bottom of the page.
- Click on “Continue to Online Form.”
- Complete the information on the form.
Filing a Complaint
Consumers may file a complaint by contacting the FCC’s Consumer Center by calling 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) voice or 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322) TTY; faxing 1-866-418-0232; or writing to:
Federal Communications Commission
Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau
Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20554
For More Information
For information about other communications issues, visit the FCC’s Consumer website, or contact the FCC’s Consumer Center using the information provided under Filing a Complaint.