The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has drafted a regulatory framework for Short Range Radio Communication Devices (SRD) to provide the telecom industry a liberal regulatory regime and a list of frequencies that are allowed for SRD and Ultra-Wide Band Technology (UWB) bands in the country.
The framework will include the technical parameters and standards, types of approved applications, and other operational restrictions.
The SRD and UWB regulations and requirements are subject to periodic reviews, and new frequency bands may be opened up for specific and non-specific SRDs/UWB.
‘SRD’ is a term that applies to radio transmitters operating over short distances and at low power. Generally, these devices have little potential to cause interference to other radio equipment and are usually exempted from licensing if operating within approved technical standards.
SRDs are used in many areas including remote control, RFID, wireless microphones, health monitoring devices, and wireless LAN.
Increasingly, manufacturers are working through the ITU and other standardization bodies to harmonize the frequency ranges and technical standards. Bluetooth, ZigBee, and Wi-Fi (802.11) are some examples of global standards that are widely used, and the economies of scale have driven down the cost of hardware.
UWB operates by spreading signals across a very large frequency band (above 500 MHz). UWB transmissions are usually low power and operate in frequency bands that are already allocated for other uses, including exclusively licensed commercial bands.
The proposed regulatory framework for SRD and UWB short-range radio communication devices will be license-exempt, type approval required subject to compliance with the specified limits.
Under the Telecom Act, 1996 (Section 29), no terminal equipment can be directly or indirectly connected with a public switched network unless it has been type-approved by the PTA.
Type approval granted by the PTA signifies that particular telecommunication equipment has been approved for general sale and is suitable to be connected with a specific public telecommunication network.
The common spectrum allocation for individual applications, general operating conditions, and specific conditions for SRDs are given.
However, an applicant will also follow the Type Approval regulations for the initiation/processing of applications and compliance with other general conditions and requirements.
All SRD devices, including UWB devices, will be type approved by the PTA in accordance with the relevant ITU-R Spectrum management recommendations and/or other international relevant standards (FCC-eCFR, EN standards, EMC, IEC, etc.)
The approved laboratories may be in countries other than Pakistan. Subject to type approval based on international norms and testing by one of the approved set of laboratories, the PTA may recognize the test reports issued by world-renowned laboratories that are duly accredited by the accreditation council within the originating country.
The SRDs will be allowed only on a “Secondary, Non-interference, Non-Protection” basis. vi. SRD operation will not cause interference with other authorized radio communication services, and be able to tolerate any interference caused by other radio-communication services, electrical or electronic equipment.
The SRDs will not be constructed with any external or readily accessible control that permits the adjustment of its operation in a manner that is inconsistent with the specifications given.
If any SRD is found or reported to interfere with any primary service, the device operation must be stopped immediately.
While issuing a NOC for SRDs operational in frequency band marked with an asterisk, the protection of primary services operational in the adjacent frequency bands will be ensured.
Moreover, if the power levels exceed the limits, for that purpose, such applications may be forwarded to the FAB for evaluation, and the device may be type-approved upon the FAB’s concurrence.
UWB applications like ground and walls penetration radar (GPR and WPR), Walls Imaging Radar, Radio Monitoring devices, and medical shooting devices that are meant for specific organizations only and have the capability to cause harmful interference in case of widespread deployments will be considered on case to case basis.