20th ITS Biennial Conference, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 30 Nov. - 03 Dec. 2014: The Net and the Internet - Emerging Markets and Policies
One of the main concepts of the international spectrum management regime is allocating the spectrum to the different radiocommunication services. Service allocation is also one of the main elements of national spectrum policy and determines the use of the spectrum. If national service allocation is not in conformity with the international Radio Regulations (RR), no protection against interference can be claimed unless this allocation is included in a footnote to the RR. In addition, countries can register their frequency assignments in the Master International Frequency Register (MIFR) or through a priori planning conference to claim international protection against interference. This paper points out that the RR are perceived more as a framework for harmonisation while not constraining countries' flexibility. Besides, flexibility is incorporated to a certain extent in a priori planning conferences. However, they cannot anticipate development in technologies. Furthermore, the international decision making procedures are argued not to restrict flexibility as they were able to accommodate technology developments. Nevertheless, countries can block particular service allocation of other countries just to protect their national interests. Moreover, footnotes are a double edged sword as they are relatively adequate tool to introduce flexibility but they may also restrict spectrum use to neighbouring countries. While the radiocommunication services definitions were found not to be mutually exclusive, some of the definitions do not correspond to reality. Furthermore, using MIFR was found to be related to international recognition of the used spectrum rather than flexibility. However, MIFR could be misused to restrict others flexibility even if there is no actual use. In addition, the three regions system gives some flexibility to the different regions in terms of service allocation but it is also considered as a restriction to countries on the borders between the regions.