October 9, 2020 Appeal for Opinions on Draft Ministerial Ordinance and Pertinent Conditions for Partial Revisions to Regulations for Procedures for Obtaining a Radio Station License
Institutional development for using mobile phones (4G) over the sky for drones or similar applications
The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) drafted a ministerial ordinance and pertinent conditions for partial revisions to the Regulations for Procedures for Obtaining a Radio Station License. These revisions will achieve the use of fourth-generation mobile communication system (4G) mobile phones to be mounted on drones or similar applications at altitudes of less than 150 m.
Accordingly, MIC will make an appeal for opinions on the drafted revisions from Saturday, October 10 through Wednesday, November 11, 2020.
1. Background and outline of revisions
If a mobile phone is mounted on a drone or a similar device, and radio waves are emitted from the sky, the radio waves will reach distant mobile phone base stations that use the same frequency. These base stations are in over-the-horizon areas where the radio waves will not reach if a mobile phone is used at usual heights. Therefore, at present, the use of mobile phones over the sky is permitted only for those who have individually obtained practical test station licenses.
With the introduction of the practical test station system, mobile phones can now be used for controlling drones or similar devices and data transmission. However, it is necessary to obtain a license through the application procedure for each mobile phone installed in a drone or a similar device in the practical application test station system. It takes about two months in total, including preparations, from the time when a person who wants to use a drone or a similar device indicates their intention to use it to a mobile phone operator until they can use it. Therefore, with the recent usage expansion of drones or similar devices, it is required to simplify the procedure and shorten the period until operating them.
Against this background, from June 2019, the Information and Communications Council started deliberating on technical requirements for using mobile phones on crewless aircraft (e.g., drones) in the sky so that 4G mobile phones can be mounted on drones or similar devices and used. MIC received a partial report on this matter from the Information and Communications Council on Tuesday, March 31, 2020.
With consideration of the above, MIC drafted the ministerial ordinance and pertinent conditions for partial revisions to the Regulations for Procedures for Obtaining a Radio Station License, which will achieve the use of 4G mobile phones to be mounted on drones or similar applications at altitudes of less than 150 m.
Therefore, MIC has decided to make this appeal for opinions on the drafted revisions.
2. Procedure of appeal for opinions
Draft ministerial ordinance
Draft Ministerial Ordinance for the partial revision of the Regulations for Procedure for Obtaining a Radio Station License
Draft official directive
Draft Official Directive for the Partial Revision of Examination Standards related to the Radio Act
2. Submission period
From Saturday, October 10 through Wednesday, November 11, 2020 (Opinions, if submitted by mail, must arrive no later than the deadline date.)
3. Future plans
Based on the results of the appeal for opinions, MIC will promptly proceed with the necessary procedures for the revision of the ministerial ordinance and pertinent conditions.
For further information about this press release, please fill in the inquiry form and submit it to MIC on the website
International Policy Division, Global Strategy Bureau, MIC
TEL: +81 3 5253 5920
FAX: +81 3 5253 5924