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 Leasing Arrangements

There are two general options for leasing spectrum usage rights:

Spectrum Manager Lease

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 leasing 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).

Sublease & Private Commons Arrangements

Sublease Arrangements

A Spectrum Manager Lessee may enter into a Spectrum Manager Sublease arrangement provided the licensee has consented to the agreement.

A Long-Term De FactoTransfer Lessee may enter into either a Spectrum Manager Sublease or a de facto Transfer Sublease arrangement provided the licensee has consented to the agreement. (Note: Spectrum lessees with a Short-Term de facto Transfer Lease are not permitted to enter into subleases.)

Sublease notifications and sublease applications are filed manually with the FCC on Form 608 (pdf).

Private Commons Arrangement

A licensee, spectrum lessee, or spectrum sublessee is permitted to make certain spectrum usage rights available to third-party users employing advanced communications technologies that involve device-to-device communications and do not involve the end-to-end physical network infrastructure of the licensee, spectrum lessee, or spectrum sublessee. The licensee, lessee, or sublessee must act as the manager of the private commons and must retain de facto control of the use of the spectrum by the third-party users.

Notifications for Private Commons arrangements are filed manually with the FCC on Form 608 (pdf) .

FCC Form 608 - WTB Application or Notification for SLA or PCA

Like the FCC Form 601, the Form 608 is a multi-use form with a main form and several schedules. For complete information and instructions on filing the spectrum leasing form, please refer to the paper copy of the Form 608 (pdf) .

Except for applications and notifications involving spectrum subleases and private commons arrangements, and the few radio services that are permitted by the rules to file on paper, § 1.913(d), all spectrum leasing applications and notifications must be filed electronically via ULS. Electronic filing is easy!! Through the use of an application wizard, the form is completed in a question and answer format. Based on answers to questions at the beginning of the filing, ULS automatically presents the filer with the additional questions needed to complete the application or notification.

The application and the notification process for subleasing and private common arrangements is a manual one and is filed using a hard copy of Form 608 (pdf) .

The filing purposes for spectrum leasing arrangements are similar to the FCC Form 601:

  • LN - New
  • LM - Modification
  • LT - Transfer of Control
  • LE - Extend the Term
  • LC - Cancellation or Termination
  • LU - Administrative Update
  • WD - Withdrawal of a pending Notification or Application
  • AM - Amendment

Summary of the 608 Main Form and its Schedules

Submission of the 608 "Main Form" is required for every filing. It obtains information pertaining to the type of application or notification, the parties involved and their eligibility and qualifications, and the required certifications and signatures.

Schedule A is used to report "designated entity" information, if applicable, in order to determine if unjust enrichment provisions are applicable.

Schedule B obtains information on the terms of new spectrum leasing and subleasing arrangements.

Schedule C, applicable to spectrum leasing and subleasing arrangements involving geographic-based licenses, is used to add, modify, or delete technical location data for International Coordination, Environmental Assessment, or Quiet Zone Location.

Schedule D is used in the event of a Transfer of Control of a Spectrum Lessee or Sublessee.

Schedule E provides supplemental date information for a spectrum leasing arrangement, such as the commencement and expiration dates, and it is used to cancel a spectrum leasing arrangement or extend the term of a spectrum lease or sublease.

Schedule F is used when a geographic-based licensee is leasing a portion of the licensed spectrum or a defined portion of the licensed geographic area.

Schedule G is used when a geographic-based licensee is leasing an undefined portion of the licensed geographic area.

Schedule H is used when a microwave licensee is leasing one or more individual microwave links.

Schedule I is used to provide notification of a new private commons arrangement, as well as any modification, extension, or cancellation of an existing private commons arrangement. All private commons notifications must be filed manually.

Additional Form 608 Filings

In addition to the Form 608 filing purposes stated above, there are three types of filings that are not associated with specific purpose codes. First, to indicate that a spectrum lease arrangement never commenced, users may file a cancellation of the spectrum lease, and where appropriate on the application, indicate that the lease never commenced. Second, users may convert from a short-term de facto transfer leasing arrangement to a long-term de facto transfer spectrum leasing arrangement by applying for a new spectrum lease and then canceling the original lease. And lastly, users may assign a spectrum lease by applying for a new lease and then canceling the original lease.

Responsibility for Filing

The chart below outlines the parties responsible for completing, certifying, and submitting the notification or application for spectrum leasing. Note that filings for spectrum subleasing or private commons arrangements are a manual process; they can not be filed in ULS.

SPECTRUM MANAGER LEASE
APPLICATION PURPOSE FILING RESPONSIBILITIES
New Lease or Extend the Term of a Lease Completed by Licensee, certified by Licensee and Lessee and submitted into ULS by Licensee.
Modification or Administrative Update of a Lease Completed by Licensee, certified by Lessee and submitted into ULS by Licensee.
Cancel a Lease Completed, certified and submitted into ULS by Licensee.
Transfer of Control of a Lessee (Pro Forma and Non Pro Forma) Completed by Licensee, certified by Transferor and Transferee and submitted into ULS by Licensee.

 

SPECTRUM MANAGER SUBLEASE
APPLICATION PURPOSE FILING RESPONSIBILITIES
New Sublease or Extend the Term of a Sublease Completed by Licensee, certified by Lessee and Sublessee and manually submitted to the FCC by the Lessee.
Modification or Administrative Update of a Sublease Completed by Licensee, certified by Sublessee and manually submitted to the FCC by the Lessee
Cancel a Sublease Completed by the Licensee, certified by the Lessee and manually submitted to the FCC by the Lessee.
Transfer of Control of a Sublessee (Pro Forma and Non Pro Forma) Completed by Licensee, certified by Transferor and Transferee and manually submitted to the FCC by the Lessee.

 

DE FACTO TRANSFER LEASE
APPLICATION PURPOSE FILING RESPONSIBILITIES
New Lease or Extend the Term of a Lease Completed by Licensee and the Lessee, certified by both parties and submitted into ULS by Licensee.
Modification or Administrative Update of a Lease Completed, certified and submitted into ULS by Lessee.
Cancel a Lease Completed, certified and submitted into ULS by Licensee.
Transfer of Control of a Lessee (Pro Forma) Completed by Lessee and Transferor, certified by Transferor and Transferee and submitted into ULS by Transferor.
Transfer of Control of a Lessee (non Pro Forma) Completed by Lessee, Transferor, and Transferee, certified by Transferor and Transferee and submitted into ULS by Transferor.

 

DE FACTO TRANSFER SUBLEASE
APPLICATION PURPOSE FILING RESPONSIBILITIES
New Sublease or Extend the Term of a Sublease Completed by Lessee and Sublessee, certified by both parties and manually submitted to the FCC by the Lessee.
Modification or Administrative Update of a Sublease Completed, certified manually submitted to the FCC by the Lessee.
Cancel a Sublease Completed, certified and manually submitted to the FCC by the Lessee.
Transfer of Control of a Sublessee (Pro Forma) Completed by Sublessee and Transferor, certified by Transferor and Transferee and manually submitted to the FCC by the Lessee.
Transfer of Control of a Sublessee (non Pro Forma) Completed by Sublessee, Transferor, and Transferee, certified by Transferor and Transferee and manually submitted to the FCC by the Lessee.

 

PRIVATE COMMONS ARRANGEMENTS
APPLICATION PURPOSE FILING RESPONSIBILITIES
License - New, Extend the Term, or Cancel a Private Commons Arrangement Completed, certified and manually submitted to the FCC by the Lessee.
Spectrum Manager Lease - New, Extend the Term, or Cancel a Private Commons Arrangement Completed by Licensee, certified by Lessee and manually submitted to the FCC by the Lessee.
Spectrum Manager Sublease - New, Extend the Term, or Cancel a Private Commons Arrangement Completed by Licensee, certified by Sublessee and manually submitted to the FCC by the Lessee.
de facto Transfer Lease - New, Extend the Term, or Cancel a Private Commons Arrangement Completed, certified and manually submitted to the FCC by Lessee.
de facto Transfer Sublease - New, Extend the Term, or Cancel a Private Commons Arrangement Completed, certified manually submitted to the FCC by the Lessee.

 

NOTE: Any buildout requirement (i.e., construction or coverage requirement), and its associated notification requirement, applicable under a license authorization remains a condition of the license and the legal responsibility for meeting the buildout obligation, as well as notifying the Commission that the buildout obligation has been timely-met, is that of the licensee; it can not be delegated to a spectrum lessee or sublessee. For more information on construction or coverage requirements pertaining to spectrum leasing, refer to § 1.9020(d) (5), § 1.9030(d) (5) and § 1.9035(d) (3).

 

 

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Updated: 
Thursday, May 26, 2016