1.What is a radio station?
According to the definition of Article 2 of the Radio Law, "radio station" means a unit of radio equipment with the person(s) to operate radio equipment.
2.What is the precondition for using an earth station?
It is necessary to obtain a license for a radio station based on the Radio Law. If you use a radio station for telecommunications service, you shall become a telecommunications carrier.
3.What is a VSAT earth station?
When you conduct communications via a satellite, you have to establish an earth station. An earth station is largely classified into a VSAT earth station and other earth stations. A VSAT earth station is operated in the Ku-band or Ka-band which is specified in the Radio Law and which complies with the technical conditions specified in Article 54-3 paragraph (1) or Article 54-3 paragraph (2) of the Ordinance Regulating Radio Equipment.
4.When an earth station is established, do any procedures differ according to a satellite?
In the case of an earth station via a foreign satellite, it is necessary to be examined in advance whether any necessary international coordination with MIC has been completed. No radio station may be established depending on the actual situation of an international coordination related to frequencies, etc., such as cases where the use of the foreign satellite in the territory of Japan has not been agreed or where an international coordination for the foreign satellite is underway. However, when you use a satellite whose license have been obtained in Japan, the international coordination has already been examined within the scope of the license of the said satellite, so take ordinary procedures for a radio station license.
5.Is it possible to obtain a license for an earth station for purposes other than telecommunications service?
According to the frequency assignment plan based on Article 26 of the Radio Law, in Japan, the frequencies (for example, C-band or Ku-band) used solely for a fixed satellite communications network shall be used for radio stations for the purpose of conducting telecommunications service or public service. Consequently, you cannot obtain a license for a radio station such as an earth station in order to perform communications for other purposes.
Concrete examples are as follows.
With respect to SNG (Satellite News Gathering) used for events, etc., no one can obtain a license to use it in his own name. Nor can anyone, after receiving a lease of SNG from a telecommunications carrier in Japan, obtain a license to use it in his own name. Communications by SNG to be conducted with a satellite is deemed to be a telecommunications carrier who uses a satellite, and cannot be conducted by anyone except a telecommunications carrier who uses a satellite authorized in Japan. Therefore, a person who wishes to obtain a license for SNG in his own name shall conclude a contract with an authorized telecommunications carrier in Japan, under which he obtains a license (a use permit) for SNG as a license owned by him in the name of the said telecommunications carrier, and receives the provision of communications service. The use of SNG by any foreign telecommunications carrier to whom no telecommunications service via satellite in Japan is allowed is not permitted.
6.How long does it take to operate a radio station?
The period from a license application to a pre-permit with respect to a satellite network for which international coordination with the MIC has been completed is about 3.5 months. The period from a license application to a pre-permit with respect to other satellite networks depends on the results of an international coordination.
7.Are qualifications for a radio operator required to use an earth station?
A radio operator is required to establish and operate a radio station. A radio operator who operates an earth station, in the case of an earth station of 500W, shall be a First-Class Technical Radio Operator for On-the-Ground Service, Second-Class Technical Radio Operator for On-the-Ground Service, or On-the-Ground Service I-Category Special Radio Operator, and a radio operator shall be exclusively secured by a licensee, or a contract, etc. However, for the radio equipment of a radio station that is controlled by a radio operator of other radio stations such as a VSAT earth station may be operated even by a person who is not an authorized radio operator.
8.Fee related to procedures for a radio station
The amount to be paid to the Government in order to establish and operate (maintain) a radio station are as follows. For further detailed information, refer to the "Procedures to Establish a Radio Station" in the Radio Use website.
- Fee of Procedures for a Radio Station (Application Fee)
Fee related to procedures for a radio station differ according to antenna power. For example, when a person establishes an earth station with the antenna power of 50W, the fee is 25,500 yen (25,400yen). (The figure in ( ) is the amount for an on-line application; hereinafter the same shall apply in this Q&A). Since the valid term of a license is five years, the procedure for its continuation (an application for its renewal) shall be taken to use the license continuously the subsequent years thereafter. The fee for its renewal (based on the same example as above) is 9,700 yen (9,600 yen). For fees in other cases, refer to the Table attached hereto.
- Fee of Inspection after Completion of Construction Work (Fee for Inspection after Completion of Construction Work)
When the construction work of radio equipment is completed, the Government inspects the contents of the construction work, so the applicant must undergo inspection performed by the Government. The inspection fee differs according to the antenna power of the earth station and the number of units that require inspection, and is 188,100 yen (188,100 Yen) for an earth station with an antenna power of 500W. When a radio station equipment is inspected by a registered inspector, the fee is 2,550 yen (2,450 yen). An inspection fee is also applicable when a radio equipment, etc. is changed.
- Fee of Periodical Inspection (Periodical Inspection Fee)
A licensee is obligated to undergo Government inspection at intervals of about five years. The periodical inspection fee is 97,200 yen (97,200 yen) per earth station with an antenna power of 500W. When an earth station is inspected by a registered inspector, the fee is 2,550 yen (2,450 yen).
- Fee of Using Radio Waves (Spectrum User Fee)
A person who uses radio waves (a licensee) must pay a spectrum user fee. For further detailed information, refer to the "Spectrum User Fee Schedule" in the Radio Use website.