Navigation and service

Satel­lite Com­mu­ni­ca­tions

Consultation on Inmarsat's proposed "European Aviation Network" in the 2 GHz band

The Bundesnetzagentur launched a consultation on Inmarsat's proposed European Aviation Network (EAN) in Official Gazette Communication No 679/2016 published on 1 June 2016.

Anhörung zum Inmarsat-Geschäftsmodell (pdf / 360 KB) (only available in German)
Results and conclusions of the public consultation (pdf / 25 KB)

General Information on Satellite Communications

Communications satellites cannot only be used for the broadcasting of radio and television programmes as known to the public but also for the transmission of speech and/or data.

This possibility is of particular interest when large distances have to be bridged and

  • speech or data are to be transmitted simultaneously from one source to several recipients or
  • speech or data are to be transmitted from several locations, which also may be changed, to one or more recipients.

The following paragraphs describe the regulation regarding the use of frequencies and the operation of earth stations, satellite networks and the application for international registration of satellite systems with the ITU and the transfer of orbit and frequency usage rights.

Frequency assignment for earth stations

To be able to actually implement speech and/or data communication via the communications satellites by means of the transmitting satellite earth station a frequency assignment is required for the use of the frequencies. The assignment of frequencies for satellite earth stations presumes that

  • a corresponding allocation has been made,
  • the national, and if need be, international frequency coordination for the earth station can be successfully concluded,
  • the satellite system used has been internationally coordinated for the frequency use applied for.

The assignment is subject to exactly defined provisions which may differ depending on the application case. Further information may be found in the administrative regulations for the assignment of frequencies for satellite communications.

Administrative regulations for the assignment of frequencies for satellite communications (pdf / 78 KB) (VVSatFu)

Pure satellite receiving equipment does not require a frequency assignment.

As compensation for the administrative work involved the Federal Network Agency levies fees and contribution charges for frequency assignments on the basis of the authorised frequencies.

For the assignment of frequencies the following fees are levied as set out in the current version of the frequency fee ordinance (Frequenzgebührenverordnung). They need to be paid once upon the assignment of the frequencies.

Assignment of a frequency in a non-coordination-relevant frequency range
(14.0-14.25 or 29.5-30.0 GHz)
€ 68,-
Assignment of a frequency in a coordination-relevant frequency range (all other frequencies)-------
  • Assignment of a frequency in the frequency range 14.0-14.5 GHz for a mobile SNG earth station
€ 103,-
  • Assignment of a frequency in the frequency range 14.25-14.5 GHz for a stationary earth station (not SNG)
€ 367,-
  • Assignment of a frequency in all other (coordination-relevant) frequency ranges
€ 492,-
  • Assignment of a frequency requiring an exceptionally complicated compatibility analysis
up to
€ 1000,-

Furthermore, annual contributions (TKG and EMVG), as laid down in the “Ordinance concerning Contributions for the Protection of Interference-Free Frequency Usage” (FSBeitrV) in its latest applicable version, are payable for the assignment of frequencies. The annual contributions are determined on the basis of the costs incurred by Federal Network Agency per radio service each year.

The spatial capacities required for the transmission must be reserved with the satellite operators. It is entirely up to you with which satellite operator you decide to book the space segments.

The applications for frequency assignment are processed centrally in Section 223 of the Federal Network Agency, Postfach 8001, 55003 Mainz. It is recommended that applications be submitted to this address direct. However, it is also possible to submit the application at the local Agency regional office.

Further information on applying for frequency assignments for the operation of satellite earth station equipment may be obtained by phone +49 6131 183195 or e-mail under Satellitenfunk@BNetzA.de.

Frequency assignment for a satellite network

There are satellite-based applications in which the subscriber's terminal equipment is controlled by a satellite network, i.e. as in the case of a GSM mobile, the end user has no influence on the frequency-related technical parameters (e.g. frequency, transmitter power) of his device. The frequency use of the terminal equipment is primarily directed and controlled by the network operator. In these cases the assignment is issued to the operator of the satellite network and covers all terminal devices.

On the one hand, this approach gives the network operator substantial liberty as to the installation and expansion of his network. On the other, it provides Federal Network Agency with a competent contact person regarding frequency use and in case of interference.

In the case of mobile-satellite systems (e.g. a Satellite Personal Communications Systems, S-PCS systems such as Globalstar, Iridium, Thuraya), the terminal devices may be operated in the Federal Republic of Germany without further assignment in individual cases on the basis of the assigned satellite network.

For VSAT networks in the frequency range 14.0 - 14.25 GHz satellite network assignments are also issued. Frequency uses complying with the frequency usage conditions for VSAT use published in RegTP Official Gazette 1/2005, Administrative Order 2/2005, may be operated on
the basis of the assigned satellite network without further assignment in individual cases. Earth stations not meeting these criteria still require an individual frequency assignment.

Satellitenfunknetze / satellite networks (06/2019) (pdf / 81 KB)

For reasons of transparency the frequency usage conditions and the assigned satellite networks have been published on the Agency's website.

For the assignment of satellite networks, fees and contributions are also levied:

  • Frequency assignment for a satellite network: 500 € - 3,500 €
  • Annual contributions (TKG and EMVG)

Applications and Guidelines

Earth Stations

Earth stations transmitting signals require an individual frequency assignment from the Bundesnetzagentur. Receive-only satellite earth stations do not require a frequency assignment. Frequencies are assigned provided that

  • they are designated in the Frequency Plan for the intended usage,
  • they are available for assignment,
  • the intended usage is compatible with other frequency usages, and
  • the assignment applicants can ensure efficient and interference-free use of the frequencies.

The application for satellite services may be submitted formlessly.

Antrag Satellitenfunk / Application satellite services (FileTypevnd.ms-excel.sheet.macroenabled.12 / 289 KB)
You need to allow macros for using this application form!

Antrag Satellitenfunk / Application satellite services (pdf / 312 KB)

Frequency assignment applications for earth stations using the C band

The frequencies in the C band at 3400 - 3800 MHz were previously allocated to the fixed-satellite service (space-to-Earth) and used by earth stations to receive satellite signals.

3400 - 3600 MHz

The 3400 - 3600 MHz band is no longer designated in the Frequency Plan for use by the fixed-satellite service (space-to-Earth). No new usages of frequencies in this band by the service will be coordinated.

3600 - 3800 MHz

The 3600 - 3800 MHz band will be available to the fixed-satellite service on a restricted basis only following the introduction of MFCN (mobile/fixed communications networks) applications. Existing coordinated receiving earth stations will be protected. New usages will be possible in individual cases, in particular at existing sites.

Operators of existing earth stations can apply for coordination for reception in the 3600 - 3800 MHz band. Applicants must give reasons why it is necessary to use frequencies in this band and why frequencies in higher bands, for instance at 3800 – 4200 MHz, cannot be used. If the reasons given are conclusive and the frequencies are not being used by MFCN assignment holders, usage will be coordinated.

Satellite News Gathering (SNG)

If frequencies are to be used for a short term only, e.g. for motor races, sports events, concerts and trade fairs, assignments are issued in a simplified procedure as Assignment for Short Terme Usage. These are issued for a maximum period of 30 days.

Antrag SNG / Application SNG (FileTypevnd.ms-excel.sheet.macroenabled.12 / 147 KB)

Antrag SNG / Application SNG (pdf / 58 KB)

Ausfüllhinweise SNG / Guidelines SNG (pdf / 7 KB)

Satellite Network

Minimum Information for Satellite Networks (pdf / 45 KB)

Notification of satellite systems (orbit segment)

Under Section 56 of the Telecommunications Act (TKG) of 22 June 2004 all exercise of German rights to orbit and frequency usage requires assignment of such rights by the Federal Network Agency. A precondition to this is the advance publication, coordination and notification of the satellite system with the Radiocommunication Bureau of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

The international notification procedure for satellite systems can only be initiated via a Telecommunications Member Administration of the ITU. In Germany, the advance publication, coordination and notification of satellite systems with the ITU is carried out by the Federal Network Agency upon request.

Administrative Order 12/2018 (pdf / 86 KB)

Applications for registration of a satellite system with the ITU should be addressed to Federal Netwok Agency in Mainz, Referat 223, Postfach 8001, 55003 Mainz, e-mail satsystems@bnetza.de .

Below you will find lists of notified German satellite networks (geostationary systems/orbiting systems) for download:

Lists of geostationary and non-geostationary orbiting satellite systems are available only in German:
Geostationäre Satellitenfunksysteme (pdf / 73 KB)
Umlaufende Satellitenfunksysteme (pdf / 29 KB)

Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS)

An individual assignment complies with the Telecommunications Act if it is necessary to ensure efficient and interference-free use of frequencies. Use of a GNSS repeater always requires an individual frequency assignment.
The signals of Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) operating in the frequency bands 1164 - 1215 MHz, 1215 - 1300 MHz and 1559 - 1610 MHz, such as NAVSTAR-GPS, GALILEO and GLONASS, may be blocked in certain areas. Examples of such places are vehicle garages or laboratories and test benches. Users often wish to use repeaters for re-radiating the GNSS signals so that GNSS receivers may acquire and track them.

A GNSS repeater receives the signals at a location with good coverage (e.g. when mounted on a building), transfers them via cable to the inside of the building, where they are re-radiated in the vicinity of the shadowed SatNav receivers (GNSS receivers). An accurate position fix (as in the case of a direct line of sight to the satellite constellation) is not provided (i.e. the location information does not match the actual position). However, the re-radiated signals enable receivers to be tested or demonstrated.

Only the following applicants will be deemed eligible:

  • public safety organisations,
  • civil and military aviation industry, including relevant maintenance facilities,
  • manufacturers of GNSS receivers and of chipsets,
  • manufacturing facilities where GNSS receivers are an integral part of the finished product (e.g. car manufacturers),
  • suppliers of GNSS receivers (testing and demonstration of GNSS devices within buildings).

Mobile use of the repeater is prohibited.

We recommend all operators to have the installer company confirm compliance with the administrative regulations.

More details can be found in the administrative regulation GNSS-Repeater.

Administrative Regulation GNSS-Repeaters (pdf / 118 KB)

An application for a GNSS Repeater may be submitted using the following form:

Antrag auf Zuteilung von Frequenzen für GNSS-Repeater (pdf / 130 KB) (only in German)

Please send the application by email to 223-Postfach@BNetzA.de or per Fax to +49 6131 18-5614.

Leeheim Space Radio Monitoring Station

The Leeheim space radio monitoring station is located at the river Rhine approximately 35 kilometres south-west of Frankfurt/Main. Its fully steerable parabolic reflector antennas of up to 12 metres in diameter are pointed towards satellites in space. These antennas do not serve commercial transmission purposes, but form the heart of an installation used to observe the frequency spectrum allocated to space radio services and to detect interference on satellite frequencies.

The number of satellites in orbit is rising and consequently the demand for satellite radio frequencies for telecommunications is increasing. Forward-looking planning of frequency utilization is therefore assuming more and more importance. The danger of radio interference is increasing too. The possibility to rapidly localise sources of interference by technical means is of great significance in economic terms to both operators and users.

In the Federal Republic of Germany the Federal Network Agency for Electricity, Gas, Telecommunications, Post and Railway is the competent body for radio monitoring. The Federal Network Agency space radio monitoring station at Leeheim is charged through national legislation and by international agreements with monitoring the space radio services. This comprises a variety of tasks such as the localization and elimination of radio interference in satellite communications.


Functions of the Leeheim Space Radio Monitoring Station
As an aid for planning and coordination,

General orbit observations reveal the actual use of the frequency spectrum for space services, including transponder occupancy of satellites and the population in the geostationary orbit.

Specific frequency occupancy observations, for example in conjunction with radio frequency coordination procedures, enable potential interference to be detected early during the planning stage of satellite systems.

Field experiments can support the optimization of theoretical models that facilitate the shared use of frequencies by space and terrestrial services.

As a tool for satellite positioning and operation

Pre-launch observations on telemetry and tracking frequencies guarantee the successful positioning of geostationary satellites.

Satellite transponder occupancy monitoring assures, from an authority point of view, that the satellite operation happens as advance published, coordinated and notified internationally.

Interference handling detects sources of harmful interference which otherwise would continue to hinder proper operation of satellite or terrestrial radio services.

Antennas 1 and 4

Antenna 1, a 12 m parabolic reflector antenna, is, in principle, a broadband antenna designed to cover the 1 - 13 GHz frequency range. Rather narrow frequency band units with optimized characteristics at 1.5 - 1.8 and 2.1 - 2.3 GHz as well as at 10.7 - 12.75 GHz, together with a high accuracy for angle measurements, are a pre-requisite for the so-called monopulse tracking for high precision antenna pointing. An adjustable deflecting mirror as well as a slide mechanism facilitate switching between the bands.

The rather wide 4.3 - 8.5 GHz frequency slot of Antenna 1 does not allow for monopulse tracking. However, in addition the Antennas 1, 3 and 4 dispose of accurate computer controlled position and polarization tracking capabilities in all their frequency bands.

Antenna 2 is purposely pointed manually only.

Due to the capability of sufficient angular velocities in azimuth and elevation, all the antennas can cope with the tracking of any non-geostationary satellite.

ANTENNA PARAMETERS OF THE MONITORING EARTH STATION LEEHEIM (pdf / 14 KB)

Measurement parameters

The station can measure the emission characteristics such as:

  • frequency,
  • Doppler frequency shift,
  • class of emission and type of modulation,
  • bandwidth,
  • polarization,
  • total power flux density,
  • power flux density in the reference bandwidth,
  • EIRP.

The station can also determine the orbital elements of space craft in order to identify unknown satellites e.g. in cases of interference.

Detection of up-link Interferers

Cases of up-link interference, i.e. not a satellite is the source of interference, but a satellite is the victim, appear more and more. Since users have obtained direct access to satellite capacities the number of earth stations has risen rapidly. Earth stations are the major source of up-link interference. It can be caused by both technical and operational faults. Illicit use of satellite transponders and cases of intentional interference to transponders have also been observed. Authorities, operators and users have to cope with this situation.

With the procurement of Antenna 4 Federal Network Agency is planning to introduce a new and advanced monitoring procedure for the detection of up-link interference. For the detection of uplink interference the detailed knowledge of the interfering signal is not necessary. The system locates interferers by processing the measured data of the time difference of arrival (TDOA) and of the frequency difference of arrival (FDOA) of the interfering signal at Leeheim via the interfered and via a neighbouring satellite. As soon as the location of the interferer is known, the interference can normally be swiftly eliminated.

The system covers the 1.5 - 1.8 GHz, 2.1 - 2.3 GHz, 3.2 - 4.2 GHz, 4.3 - 8.5 GHz and 10.7 - 12.75 GHz frequency bands. The 20 GHz range is currently under construction.

The space radio monitoring station´s central location within the European continent puts Leeheim in the proper position to offer its services also to other European countries.

Services to customers external to Federal Network Agency

The monitoring services as described can be provided to interested parties external to Federal Network Agency, subject to available capacity. Initial enquiries on more technical detail, availability and charges can be addressed directly to the space radio monitoring station at Leeheim under the following numbers: phone: +49 6158 940-0, fax: +49 6158 940-180 or Öffnet E-Mail-Feld

Information

Correspondence can be forwarded by mail or by fax to the:

Federal Network Agency
for Electricity, Gas, Telecommunications,
Post and Railway
P.O. Box 80 01
D-55003 Mainz

Germany Telephone: +49 6131 18-0
Fax: +49 6131 18-5600

 

Date of modification: 2018.04.04