Licensed GSM Spectrum

GSM operates in licensed frequency spectrum, i.e. the license to operate equipment on the GSM bands is granted (typically sold/auctioned) to commercial entities.

This is very different from technologies like Bluetooth or WiFi? operating in the 2.4GHz unlicensed ISM band.

As a result, you cannot operate any GSM RF equipment (like the BS-11 or any other BTS) unless you have obtained a proper license from the regulatory authority in your country. Accomplishing to operate a BTS without having such a license is subject to punishment according to the respective laws in your country.

Apart from the legal aspects, there also are practical aspects. If you operate on a channel (ARFCN) that is already used by a GSM operator, you will likely create interference with the production network. Please don't do this''' It is illegal and disruptive, and not related to what this project is trying to achieve.

Interfering with a public telecommunications network, intentionally or unintentionally, is a crime in most countries and punishable under applicable law!

Regulatory authorities for GSM licensing

For testing, the authorization category 1b and 6 are relevant. The GSM900 band is fully licensed to commercial operators, so only ARFCN in the 1800 band will be allocated.

GSM Related Patents

OpenBSC is Open Source software for research purpose, not a product that is used commercially. The development is done by volunteers who want to learn more about GSM and who want to encourage others to experiment with it.

As such, OpenBSC does not come with patent licenses of any sort. It is well known that mobile telephony and GSM specifically is a patent minefield. Some of those patents relating to voice codecs and the Um air interface are already licensed by the BTS manufacturer. Other patents might apply directly to what OpenBSC is doing.

If you are using OpenBSC in a commercial setting, it is your responsibility to properly license all applicable patents from their respective holders. The ETSI maintains a list of essential patents that apply to GSM.

Last modified 17 months ago Last modified on Dec 5, 2012, 9:42:44 PM