Rule Part

47 C.F.R, Part 101

Radio Service Code(s)

  • MM - Millimeter Wave 70-80-90 GHz

The term “millimeter wave” derives from the wavelength of radio signals on frequencies between 30 GHz and 300 GHz, which ranges between 1 and 10 millimeters.

At these frequencies, radio signals attenuate more rapidly with distance than at other frequencies and antennas that can narrowly focus transmitted energy are practical and of modest size.  While the limited range of such transmissions might appear to be a major disadvantage for many applications, it does allow the reuse of frequencies within very short distances and, thereby enables a higher concentration of transmitters to be located in a geographical area than is possible at lower frequencies.

Because of shorter wavelengths, the 71-76 GHz, 81-86 GHz, and 92-95 GHz (70/80/90 GHz) bands permit the use of smaller antennas, than would be required for similar circumstances in the lower bands, to achieve the same high directivity and high gain. The immediate consequence of this high directivity, coupled with the high free space loss at these frequencies, is the possibility of a more efficient use of the spectrum for point-to-multipoint applications. Since a greater number of high directive antennas can be placed than less directive antennas in a given area, the net result is higher reuse of the spectrum, and higher density of users, as compared to lower frequencies. Furthermore, due to the fact that one can place more voice channels or broadband information using a higher frequency to transmit the information, this spectrum could potentially be used as a replacement for or supplement to fiber optics.
On October 16, 2003, the Commission adopted a Report and Order establishing service rules to promote non-Federal Government development and use of the “millimeter wave” spectrum in the 70/80/90 GHz bands on a shared basis with Federal Government operations, and subsequently modified the Report and Order with a Memorandum Opinion and Order (FCC 05-45) (pdf).   The Commission adopted a flexible and innovative regulatory framework for the 70/80/90 GHz bands, allowing links to be registered with third party database managers after they are issued a geographic nationwide license by the Commission. The interference protection afforded to a link is based on the date and time that link (new or modified) was submitted to a third party database manager.

Details of the licensing, link registration, and interference protection are explained in the Report and Order (FCC-03-248), Public Notice DA-04-1493, and the Memorandum Opinion and Order (FCC-05-45).  

The 71-76 GHz and 81-86 GHz bands are also being considered as a potential candidate for mobile services in the context of the Commission’s spectrum frontiers proceeding.  See GN Docket No. 14-177 for more information.


On October 16, 2003, the Commission adopted a Report and Order establishing rules to promote non-Federal Government development and use of the “millimeter wave” spectrum in the 71-76 GHz, 81-86 GHz and 92-95 GHz (70/80/90 GHz) bands on a shared basis with Federal Government operations. In the Report and Order, the Commission adopted rules for both unlicensed (Part 15) and licensed (Part 101) use of portions of these bands.  This webpage concerns licensed use of the bands, which involves all of the bands except for 100 megahertz of spectrum at 94.0-94.1 GHz.  For convenience, we refer to the licensed spectrum herein as the “70/80/90 GHz bands”; such references do not include 94.0-94.1 GHz.


The Commission adopted a flexible and innovative licensing framework for the 70/80/90 GHz bands that does not require separate FCC license applications for most links or traditional frequency coordination among non-Federal Government users. Rights with regard to specific links are established based upon the date and time of link registration.

A license (FCC authority) to operate a link in the Millimeter Wave 70-80-90 GHz Radio Service consists of two parts:  (1) a non-exclusive nationwide license (see below), combined with (2) registration of each link (see link registration tab).

All interested parties must have a non-exclusive nationwide license prior to registering a link.

The non-exclusive nationwide license does not authorize operation until the link is registered as an approved link in the Link Registration System administered by third party database managers (see link registration tab).


Filing Procedures

Information relevant to obtaining a non-exclusive nationwide license is contained in the Interim Procedures Public Notice DA-04-1493 (pdf).      


Filing Procedures Public Notices

Public Notice DA 05-311 (Permanent Procedures) (pdf)

Public Notice DA-04-1493 (Interim Procedures) (pdf)     

Nonexclusive Nationwide License

The nationwide license serves as a prerequisite for registering individual point-to-point links.

A licensee is not authorized to operate a 70/80/90 GHz link unless/until the link is registered as an approved link in the Link Registration System administered by third-party Database Managers.

Because the 70/80/90 GHz bands are allocated on a shared basis with Federal Government users, each link must be coordinated with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) with respect to Federal Government operations as part of the registration process (see link registration tab).       

Applicants for non-exclusive nationwide licenses will be required to file FCC Form 601 Main Form and Schedule B. Because the non-exclusive nationwide license serves as a prerequisite for registering links, an applicant will initially receive a single license for all available frequency bands (71-76, 81-86, 92- 94.0, and 94.1 - 95 GHz).

Notice to Common Carriers

Applications to provide non-common carrier service or for private, internal communications (Codes "N" and "P," respectively on FCC Form 601 Item 35) may be granted anytime after they are accepted for filing. Applications that include a request for common carrier regulatory status (Code "C," FCC Form 601 Item 35) will not be granted prior to the 31st day following the issuance of a Public Notice of the acceptance for filing of such application.
EXAMPLE: On June 30, 2004, the Bureau releases the weekly Public Notice of applications filed between June 21-25, 2004, that are acceptable for filing. The 31st day following this public notice is Saturday, July 31, 2004, making Monday, August 2, 2004, the first day on which a common carrier application can be granted. A license is required to file link registrations. Given that July 19, 2004, is the starting date for filing link registrations, and that no common carrier licenses can be granted prior to August 2, 2004, applicants seeking to operate under more than one regulatory status may wish to file one application for common carrier regulatory status and a second application for non-common carrier and/or private, internal regulatory status, as applicable.
Ordinarily, in requesting authority to offer both common carrier and non-common carrier service, an applicant would choose to file a single FCC Form 601 and enter Codes C and N on it in response to Item 35. However, the entire application would be processed under the "common carrier" track, i.e., the "notice and 30-day waiting period" of Section 1.945(b), because system limitations preclude us from processing the non-common carrier request separately when filed on the same form as the common carrier request.     

Link Registration

The non-exclusive nationwide license (see licensing tab ) is a required prerequisite for registering individual links in the 71-76 GHz, 81-86 GHz, and 92-95 GHz (70/80/90 GHz) bands. Individual links cannot be registered until a non-exclusive nationwide license is obtained.

Licensees must register links through one of the approved Third Party Database Managers (see below).  In a few special circumstances an application must also be filed in ULS (e.g., if the link has received a “yellow light” response from NTIA, requires environmental assessment; requires coordination because of a quiet zone; or is subject to international coordination requirements). Licensees may contact any of the Database Managers for more information about link registration and each Database Manager provides public access online to link registration data.     

Further information about registering links is provided in Public Notice DA 05-311 (pdf).


Third Party Database Managers

On September 29, 2004, the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau released an Order announcing the appointment of Comsearch, Micronet Communications, Inc., and RadioSoft, Inc., as independent database managers (Database Manager or, collectively, Database Managers) responsible for the design and management of the third-party 70/80/90 GHz bands link registration system. See DA-04-3151 (pdf). Each Database Manager has executed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Commission memorializing their obligations and responsibilities as a 70/80/90 GHz bands link registration database manager. The terms of the Memorandum of Understanding are for five years and have been renewed for additional five year terms in 2009 and 2014.  See DA-09-2572 (pdf) and DA-14-1797 (pdf). On August 26, 2016, the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau released an Order designating Key Bridge Global LLC as another Database Manager with a term expiration of December 9, 2019 to coincide with the end of the current five year term for each of the Database Managers.  See DA-16-974 (pdf). 
Licensees must register links in the 70-80-90 GHz Millimeter Waver Service through one of the Database Managers. The public can also access the third party database system to obtain information about registered links. Contact information and links to the Database Manager's systems are as follows:
19700 Janelia Farm Boulevard
Ashburn, VA 20147
P: 703-726-5500
F: 703-726-5599
RadioSoft, Inc.
194 Professional Park Drive
Clarkesville, GA 30523
P:  888-723-4695
F:  888-723-4695
720 F Avenue, Suite 100
Plano, TX 75074
P: 972-422-7200
F: 972-422-1900


Wednesday, March 13, 2019