PTA cheque Licensing Framework for Terrestrial IoT System

The Licensing Framework for Terrestrial Internet of Things (IoT) Services, was out by the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) emphasises the requirements and rules for the provision of IoT service in non-licensed frequency bands.

The aim of the framework is to provide industry with the regulatory framework to enable Io T/M2M eco-system development through either a list of unauthorized/shared bands for use on Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN), on a non-intervention and non-protection basis or through licenced frequency bands alone, as stated by PTA.

The Authority noted that it considered necessary to establish a Regulatory Framework for growth of IoT ecosystems in licenced and non-licensed bands across the country, taking account of the worldwide trends and government insights.

The majority of IoT applications may be made in radio frequency bands, such as cellular bands, globally harmonised bands, and in ISM bands, etc.

Each band has its unique case of usage, based on its properties. Thus, the IoT service supply licencing framework is categorised, primarily, by the frequency bands involved in service supplies;

  1. IoT services supplied via frequency bands allocated solely;
  2. Services IoT offered in the following categories using shared frequency/unlicensed frequency bands:
  • Short Ranges SRD (SRD) and/or Ultra Wide Band IoT services SRT services (UWB)
  • IoT License/Authorization Class LPWAN Services.
The draught states that, subject to their licencing conditions of licence and/or any other requirements, cellular and other licensees can deliver IoT services using their uniquely licenced frequencies.

Furthermore, mission critical services shall, under the terms and circumstances of such licence or any other requirement set forth in the Authority, be delivered solely in licenced fréquence bands.

It further said that, providing its activities fall within authorised technical requirements and restrictions set out in the relevant SRD framework, the radio spectrum earmarked for such applications shall not be licenced.

The communication mainly remains indoor and/or effective within a 100m outdoor range and is not directly connected to any public telecommunications network. SRD usage should, in accordance with the applicable type approval Regulations, need type approval (TA) of the Authority as an obligatory requirement.

The draught proposal proposes that, as stated, LPWAN's licensees should ensure strict adherence to respective power restrictions for IoT-specific service area (AoS) connection across specified frequency bands.

Further, the backside traffic generated by the LPWAN network, by a PTA licenced Local Access Provisor should be sent to the cloud/internet or to a server geographically isolated from the LPWAN Basic Station.

The licence term should be 5 years and renewable in accordance with the federal government policy for the other terms.

The frequency bands assigned exclusively/already authorised shall from time to time be subject to the relevant licencing terms and/or other requirements laid forth by the authority.

In the bands established by government from time to time, exclusive IOT allotments in any other frequency band must be addressed on a casual basis.

The frequency bands shared / unlicensed as referred to in the LPWAN SRD Framework shall be used in a secondary manner. This means that networks that operate in those bands do not interfere with other authorised primary communication and shared / not-exclusive service services. This means that the uses of these networks do not seek protection from the interference caused by existing or future prima.

When primary services are interfered with, the user of a frequency band not authorised shall immediately discontinue the usage on the Authority's order.

It further specified that, unless the terminal equipment is:, the licensee shall not instal, connect or allow any terminal equipment to be installed or connected to it.
  • Authority type-approved, or otherwise allowed and,
  • Type-approved in the Member State of the Organization for Economic Cooperation or Development by the recognised telecoms equipment type approval body or recognised telecommunication equipment test laboratory (OECD).
No terminal equipment or kind of terminal equipment forbidden by the authority shall be installed or connected or permitted to be installed by the licensee. All IoT services equipment must conform with the Type Approval Regulations from time to time published by the Authority.

The instruments used for network deployment under LPWAN licences (sensors, actuators, aggregator(s), appliances,etc.) shall comply with the ICNIRP guidelines for limiting exposure to varying electric, magnetic and electronic fields of the international commission on non-ionizing radiation protection (ICNIRPs).

The range of numbers is utilised according to the National Numbering Plan. Applicable from time to time, including amendments/modifications issued by the Authority, shall be the Number Allocation & Administration Rules, 2018. The appropriate IP address is permitted, although upgrading to IPv6 is strongly recommended.

The licensees offering IoT services should, when and where asked, store and keep the data for the Authority for a period of at least 12 month. In five working days from the date of notification of such a violation, the licensor must disclose the data violation (if any) to the Authority.

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