New Zealand’s change over to Narrow Band

Key Points

  • Landmobile radio channel users operating below 470 MHZ must change to narrowband (12.5kHz channel) spacing by 1 November 2015 unless the license is sued for SCADA and Data
  • Those operating above 470 MHz (the F and TS bands) must change to narrowband by 31 December 2019.
  • You do not have to change to digital systems.

In August 2011, the Ministry of Economic Development, now the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), mandated that all 25 kHz spaced radio channels must change to narrowband licences (12.5KHz spacing or less) by 1 November 2015.

Then in August 2014, a further policy announcement gave a 4 year reprieve for those operating in F and TS bands, they now have until 31 December 2019 to change to narrowband
You are required to change to narrowband by 1 November 2015 if your landmobile radio service operates in E, C, or D bands and the services are not for SCADA or Data.

To comply with this policy, some older radios will need replacing as they cannot operate on anything other than 25kHz spaced channels. The requirement to change is at a cost to the users even though there may be no immediate benefit to them.

To improve the cost/benefit ratio, it could be timely to look at the advantages that digital radio may offer your organisation, but note that there is no regulatory requirement to change to digital. You are able to continue using analogue radios for the foreseeable future.

The benefits of digital systems include GPS tracking, emergency call, lone worker alarm, call privacy, to name a few. There are a number of digital systems available today from most dealers, some are standards based, others are proprietary.

Many people have already changed to the narrow channel spacing, and others are in the process. If you have not started to plan for this change, then it is essential that you talk to your Radio Dealer or Network Operator very soon to ensure that the change is completed by 1 November 2015 or 31 December 2019, whichever is applicable to the frequency band you operate in.

If you are unsure whether you have already changed to the new standard or not, the new narrowband radio channels generally have a “n”suffix in the channel designator, i.e. En, Cn, Dn, Fn etc. The EE Band is already narrowband.

Contact RFUANZ if you require further information.

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