Frequency allocation

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US frequency allocations chart, 2016

Frequency allocation (or spectrum allocation or spectrum management) is the allocation and regulation of the electromagnetic spectrum into radio frequency bands, normally done by governments in most countries.[1] Because radio propagation does not stop at national boundaries, governments have sought to harmonise the allocation of RF bands and their standardization.

ITU definition[edit]

The International Telecommunication Union defines frequency allocation as being of "a given frequency band for the purpose of its use by one or more terrestrial or space radiocommunication services or the radio astronomy service under specified conditions".[2]

Frequency allocation is also a special term, used in national frequency administration. Other terms are:

ITU-terms pertaining to frequency regulation
distribution to:
ITU languages ITU RR
French English Spanish Arabic Chinese Russian
Radiocommunication services attribution
(to allocate)
划分 распределение
Regions or countries allotisement
(to allot)
分配 выделение
Radio stations assignation
(to assign)
指配 присвоение


Several bodies set standards for frequency allocation, including:

To improve harmonisation in spectrum utilisation, most service allocations are incorporated in national Tables of Frequency Allocations and Utilisations within the responsibility of the appropriate national administration. Allocations are:

  • primary
  • secondary
  • exclusive or shared utilization, within the responsibility of national administrations.

Allocations of military usage will be in accordance with the ITU Radio Regulations. In NATO countries, military mobile utilizations are made in accordance with the NATO Joint Civil/Military Frequency Agreement (NJFA).

Examples of frequency allocations[edit]

Some of the bands listed (e.g., amateur 1.8–29.7 MHz) have gaps / are not continuous allocations.

Common frequencies [3]
Source Frequency (MHz) Typical radiated
power (kW)


Longwave BCB (EU) 0.150–0.285 320
AM BCB (EU & J) 0.525–1.605 500 630
AM BCB (US) 0.530–1.710 50
Amateur 1.8–29.7 0.16 (mobile) 15
Citizens band 26.9–27.4 0.004 12
Amateur 28–30 0.2 (mobile) 10
Land mobile 29–54 0.1
Amateur 50–54 0.2 (mobile) 6
TV low VHF 54–88 100
Land mobile (EU) 65–85 0.1
FM BCB (J) 76–90 44
FM BCB (US & EU) 88–108 105
Aircraft 108–136 1
Land mobile (EU) 120–160 0.1
Land mobile 132–174 18–100
Land mobile (J) 142–170
Amateur 144–148 0.2 (mobile) 2
TV high VHF 174–216 316
Land mobile 216–222 0.2
Amateur 222–225 0.1 (mobile) 1.25
Land mobile (J) 335–384
Land mobile 406–512 0.1
Land mobile (J) 450–470 .70
Amateur 430–450 0.1 (mobile)
TV UHF 470–806 5000
Land mobile 806–947 0.035 .33
Cellular AMPS 806–947 0.003 .33
Land mobile
1200–1600 .23
Cellular PCS 1700–2000 0.003
2400–2500 0.0000025
  • BCB is an abbreviation for broadcast band, for commercial radio news and music broadcasts.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Haim, Mazar (2008-08-01). An Analysis of Regulatory Frameworks for Wireless Communications, Societal Concerns and Risk: The Case of Radio Frequency (RF) Allocation and Licensing (PDF). Middlesex University.
  2. ^ ITU Radio Regulations, Section IV. Radio Stations and Systems – Article 1.16, definition: allocation (of a frequency band).
  3. ^ "EMC Design Guide for PCB" (PDF). Ford EMC. 2003.

External links[edit]