Pluralistic Licensing

Oliver Holland*, Luca De Nardis, Keith Nolan, Arturas Medeisis, Peter Anker, Leo Fulvio Minervini, Fernando Velez, Marja Matinmikko, John Sydor

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paper

24 Citations (Scopus)


We introduce the concept of "pluralistic licensing", which we describe as the award of licenses under the assumption that opportunistic secondary spectrum access will be allowed, and that interference may be caused to the primary with parameters and rules that are known to the primary at the point of obtaining the license. A key aspect of the concept is that the primary will choose from a range of offered "pluralistic licenses" each with associated fees, and each specifying alternative opportunistic access rules and associated interference characteristics. Our proposal is a novel means to take forward spectrum licensing which is fair to both primary and secondary users and takes into account the requirements of both parties. The objective is to incentivize the primary to obtain this type of license through means such as a reduced license fee, whereby the opportunistic secondary spectrum access will use "cognitive radio" mechanisms to avoid causing interference to the primary or to otherwise keep interference within known parameters.

We discuss that our proposed concept can propel more robust or better design of both primary and secondary devices. For primary devices it can lead to the ability to cope with an increased degree or risk of interference among other benefits, and for secondary devices might lead to the ability to better share spectrum opportunities. Both of these aspects greatly improve spectrum usage efficiency and fairness. Our concept is also highly flexible dependent on the case-by-case deployment context, even so far as allowing solutions such as spectrum sensing and primary beacon transmissions which would otherwise not be practical or desirable, while defaulting to safe mechanisms such as a geolocation database in cases where a lower interference variance is required. Many other benefits of our concept and its extensions are discussed.

We argue that "pluralistic licensing" should become the de facto form of license awarded in newly designated bands, and should also be offered to the primary as a licensing option in existing bands in cases where interference to legacy devices that might exist in the band can be avoided.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2012 IEEE International Symposium on Dynamic Spectrum Access Networks
Place of PublicationPiscataway, N.J.
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9781467344487
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventIEEE International Symposium on Dynamic Spectrum Access Networks - Bellevue, United Kingdom
Duration: 16 Oct 201219 Oct 2012


ConferenceIEEE International Symposium on Dynamic Spectrum Access Networks
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • licensing
  • opportunistic spectrum access


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