Today, the Commission adopted rules that consolidate, revise, and streamline its license
application procedures for radio services licensed by the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau
(Wireless Bureau). Specifically, the Report and Order (R&O) adopts rule changes that will
implement the Universal Licensing System (ULS), the integrated database and automated
processing system developed by the Wireless Bureau to facilitate electronic filing of wireless
applications, licensing information, and public access to such information for all wireless radio
services. This rulemaking is also the first R&O that is part of the Commission's 1998 biennial
review of regulations pursuant to Section 11 of the Communications Act.
ULS will fundamentally change the way the Commission receives and processes wireless
applications. It will eliminate the need for wireless carriers to file duplicative applications, and
increase the accuracy and reliability of licensing information. ULS will enable all wireless
applicants and licensees for the first time to file all licensing-related applications and other filings
electronically, thus increasing the speed and efficiency of the application process. The enhanced
information collection capabilities of ULS will, in turn, enable the Commission staff to easily
monitor spectrum use and competitive conditions in the wireless marketplace and will promote
effective implementation of spectrum management policies. Finally, ULS will enhance the
availability of licensing information to the public, which will for the first time have access to all
wireless licensing data on-line, including maps showing licensing areas and service providers.
Specifically, the Commission took the following actions in the R&O:
- The Commission adopted the following four consolidated ULS application forms for
wireless services replacing over 40 existing forms: Form 601 is the Long-Form or FCC
Application for Wireless Telecommunication Bureau Radio Service Authorization; Form 602 is
the FCC Ownership Disclosure Information for the Wireless Telecommunications Services; Form
603 is the FCC Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Application for Assignment of
Authorization or Transfer of Control;
- Form 605 is the Quick-Form Application for Authorization in the Ship, Aircraft, Amateur,
Restricted and Commercial Operator, and General Mobile Radio Services. The Commission will
allow continued use of existing forms for a transition period of six months after the effective date
of these rules.
- The Commission provided for collection of ownership information on Form 602 from
applicants and licensees in auctioned services already subject to specific ownership reporting
requirements under Part 1. Licensees in non-auctioned wireless services are not subject to these
ownership reporting requirements, and therefore are not required to file Form 602.
- The Commission consolidated wireless licensing rules currently contained in service-specific rule parts into in a single set of rules in Part 1, eliminating duplicative and unnecessary
- Electronic filing in ULS will be mandatory for applicants and licensees in services that
are licensed by auction, but not for applicants and licensees in other wireless services. As a result,
all common carrier services (e.g., cellular) and geographically licensed services (e.g., PCS, LMDS)
will be subject to mandatory electronic filing. However, public safety, private land mobile services
on shared spectrum, Amateur Radio, GMRS, Ship and Aircraft, and Commercial Radio Operators
will have the option of filing electronically or manually.
- Electronic filing in ULS will be mandatory for frequency coordinators regardless of the
service, and by volunteer examiner-coordinators (VECs) in the Amateur service.
- These mandatory electronic filing requirements will take effect on July 1, 1999, or six
months after the use of ULS in the particular service, whichever is later. This does not affect the
Commission's prior decision to require applicants for auctions to file both pre-auction short forms
and post-auction long form applications electronically as of January 1, 1999.
- The Commission took steps to ensure that ULS electronic filing and data programs are
accessible to persons with disabilities in compliance with its program accessibility rules and the
new requirements of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998.
- After six months from the effective date of the rules adopted in this Report and Order, a
transition period, applicants may not file letter requests for purposes that are specifically provided
for on ULS forms. This includes requests for extension of time, special temporary authority,
license cancellation, and administrative changes such as changes of address.
- The Commission adopted a consolidated rule for determining whether a change to a
pending application or existing authorization is treated as a major or minor change. The
Commission also clarified that under this rule, no license modification application is required for
geographic licensees to move, add, or delete internal sites in their licensing areas, except those
requiring international coordination or environmental approval.
- The Commission eliminated reinstatement procedures in wireless services that
previously had them. ULS will be used to notify wireless licensees ninety days in advance of
license expiration, but all licensees must file a timely renewal application on or prior to the
expiration date of the license, regardless of whether they receive such notification.
- For transfer and assignment applications, the Commission adopted a combined form to
be used by all wireless services, instead of separate assignment and transfer forms previously
proposed. The combined form can also be used to provide notification of consummation of a
transfer or assignment transaction, including notifications of pro forma transactions under the
Commission's forbearance procedures for telecommunications carriers.
- The Commission adopted requirements for the submission of Taxpayer Identification
Numbers (TINs) in ULS consistent with the requirements of the Debt Collection Improvement
Act of 1996. The Commission stated that all TIN information will be kept confidential.
- The Commission adopted proposals made in WT Docket 96-188 to authorize reciprocal
operation by foreign amateur radio licensees by rule, pursuant to recent international reciprocal
- The Commission identified numerous General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) rules to
be eliminated and streamlined as duplicative or unnecessary to its regulatory responsibilities. The
rule changes will also facilitate the conversion of GMRS data collection procedures and databases
For more information on ULS the Commission's ULS webpage can be accessed at:
Action by the Commission, Thursday, September 17, 1998, by Report and Order (FCC
98-234). Chairman Kennard, Commissioners Ness, Furchtgott-Roth, Powell and Tristani with Commissioner Furchtgott-Roth issuing a separate statement.
- FCC -
News Media Contact: Meribeth McCarrick at (202) 418-0654
Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Contact: David Furth at (202) 418-0632; or for technical
information: Karen Wrege at (202) 418-0667 or Ira Keltz at (202) 418-0616; TTY (202) 418-7233
Commercial Wireless Division contacts: Ramona Melson or Wilbert Nixon at (202) 418-7240
Public Safety and Private Wireless Division contact: Susan Magnotti at (202) 418-0680