Local 4G/5G networks are intended for local use, for example, at factories, ports, airports, shopping centres, power plants and mines for their own activities. Under certain conditions, these networks can also enable minor public telecommunications operations or fixed wireless access (FWA) connections.
In Finland, interest in the use of the frequency range 3800-4200 MHz for local mobile communication networks has been identified and its allocation for this purpose is being prepared in European cooperation. The European harmonisation work is supposed to be completed at the end of 2024. Currently, Traficom can grant radio licenses for research and development use for a maximum of one year at a time, based on case-by-case consideration.
The radio licence defines a network’s technical licence conditions and other conditions of its use.
Furthermore, the radio licence defines the geographic area of use and the radio transmitter’s maximum field strength permitted outside this area of use.
As a rule, base stations and terminal equipment must not be used on board an airborne aircraft, such as a helicopter or drone. Authorisation of aircraft operations is decided separately in each case based on the application. Use on board an aircraft must not generate any harmful interference to other users, and interference-free communication is not guaranteed for such use.
Radio networks operating outdoors in geographic areas next to or close to one another must be synchronised to avoid interference.
In the frequency band 2300–2320 MHz, the frame structure of a licence holder’s outdoor base stations must primarily comply with the uplink-downlink synchronisation configuration 2 (ETSI TS 136 211, clause 4.2, Table 4.2-2). If a licence holder wishes to use other synchronisation configurations included in the above-mentioned technical specification, the planned frame structure and the source of the synchronisation signal (clock) must be indicated in the application. Configurations 0, 1 and 6 may be used subject to the approval of the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom.
In the frequency band 24.25–25.1 GHz, the frame structure of a licence holder’s outdoor base stations must primarily comply with the same uplink-downlink synchronisation configuration as the mobile networks subject to licence operating in the frequency band 25.1-27.5 GHz (DDDSU, subcarrier spacing of 120 kHz). Traficom provides the technical details of the frame structure in the public networks to be used upon request.
If the area or purpose of use of a mobile network changes during the validity of the radio licence, or if the number of subscriptions or customers in a public network exceeds the maximum limit specified in the radio licence, the licence holder must apply for a change in their radio licence or a new radio licence before any changes can be implemented.
Local public telecommunications operations in frequency bands 2300–2320 MHz and 24.25–25.1 GHz
As a rule, the provision of mobile network services requires a network licence. New legislation entered into force at the beginning of 2021, the purpose of which is to lighten licence practices. A local mobile network, in which minor public telecommunications operations are carried out, can operate on the basis of a radio licence granted by Traficom without any separate network licence.
In addition to local mobile networks, a radio licence can be granted for a local FWA network, in which public telecommunications operations are carried out. Such a network subscription can only be used in the pre-defined operating location, primarily using a fixed outdoor antenna installed in the building.
Radio licences are granted for local public telecommunications networks in accordance with preconditions prescribed by law on a case-by-case basis. When considering the granting of a radio licence, the local and minor scope of operations will be assessed on the basis of the area of use, planned services and the number of subscriptions.
In addition to applying for a radio licence, an electronic telecommunications notification must be submitted to Traficom before any operations in a local mobile network can be started. The telecommunications notification must be submitted for the provision of network or communications services for an unlimited number of users.
Numbers and identifiers used in communications networks
The interoperability and interconnectivity of communications networks and the services provided in them require that the numbers and technical identifiers used in communications networks are unambiguous.
Depending on the services provided and the architecture, local radio networks may require numbers and technical identifiers managed by Traficom. These can be granted with the following preconditions:
- Traficom has granted the radio licence required for the operator.
- The operator has submitted a telecommunications notification.
- The operator presents justified needs and purposes of use for the numbers and identifiers applied for.
Mobile country code (MCC) 999 can also be used in closed local radio networks that use mobile network technology without any separate registration or licence procedure. The operator can define the mobile network codes (MNC) required under MCC 999.
For justified reasons, an MNC granted by Traficom can be applied for under Finland’s mobile country code (244) for use by local networks. Such reasons include roaming. If required, mobile network numbering (E.164) can be granted for an operator.
Deadlines may be affixed to the deployment of numbers and identifiers, they can be defined to be connected to a certain service, or specific conditions may be defined to ensure clear and effective numbering or to protect the interests of users.
Applying for the numbers and identifiers required can be started by sending a free-form email, including justified reasons, to Traficom’s customer service (firstname.lastname@example.org).