Statement: Decision on changes to licence exemption for Wireless Telegraphy Devices and on licensing equipment in 57 to 71 GHz

Published: 7 December 2020
Consultation closes: 29 January 2021
Status: Closed (statement published)

Statement published 29 April 2021

On 20 April 2021 we signed new regulations (the Wireless Telegraphy (Exemption) Regulations 2021 (the “Exemption Regulations”)) which come into force on 12 May 2021. The Exemption Regulations implement a number of decisions as outlined below. We decided to make the Exemption Regulations following consideration of eight responses to our consultation published on 7 December 2020. The Exemption Regulations revoke and replace the previous exemption regulations.

These are our decisions:

Non-specific Short Range Devices (SRDs) and SRD Data Networks in 870 to 874.4 MHz band: we are making 4.4 MHz of continuous spectrum available by aligning the technical parameters and authorisation regime across the 870 to 874.4 MHz band. These changes will make the band more suitable for applications including smart metering and Machine-to-Machine communications that wish to use wider bandwidth technologies.

Higher power wideband data transmission systems (WBDTS) in the 57 to 71 GHz band: from 20 May 2021, we require new use of these higher power systems to be licensed rather than licence exempt in order to ensure compliance with our electromagnetic fields (EMF) usage conditions. For equipment already deployed under the existing licence-exemption framework we are providing a transition period where operators of the equipment will have until 30 November 2021 to obtain a licence.

Wi-Fi & other Radio Local Area Network (RLAN) Technologies: we are allocating an extra 500 MHz of spectrum from 5925 to 6425 MHz for Wi-Fi and RLAN devices and removing the Dynamic Frequency Selection (DFS) requirements in the 5.8 GHz band (5725 to 5850 MHz). Both these measures will help make more channels available, increase capacity and reduce congestion in existing Wi-Fi bands caused by increasing numbers of connected devices.

European Union Decision on SRDs: we will align the technical conditions for some SRDs with those set out in the European Commission Decision 2019/1345. The Decision harmonised the technical parameters for certain categories of SRD applications across several frequency bands. We believe this change supports an international market for equipment which could help provide more choice and lower costs to UK citizens and consumers.

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