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FCC Licensing

We work closely with a licensed frequency coordinator on current FCC licensing requirements. We can assist you with new applications, renewals, relocations, and modifications as well as help you prepare for the future. We feel it is important to make you aware of an FCC Licensing change that could effect your business communications, and that is the requirement to move to narrowband 12.5kHz.

Be prepared for when the FCC Narrowbanding mandate goes into effect. Nationwide licensees operating on 25 kHz radios systems will soon need to operate using 12.5 kHz efficiency channels.

As a trusted leader in two-way communications, Motorola has been preparing for 12.5 Hz technology for over decade and offers the broadest choice of two-way radio equipment with close to 60 models capable of operating in 12.5 kHz efficiency. While Motorola radios purchased in the last ten years are likely dual mode 25/12.5 kHz, older equipment may need to be replaced. Contact your local Motorola representative today to help you prepare for a smooth and cost effective transition. See below for all Motorola 12.5 kHz products.



Are your radio system and subscribers ready for Narrowbanding?

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is mandating all public safety and industrial/business licensees convert existing 25 kHz radio systems to minimum narrowband 12.5 kHz efficiency technology by January 1, 2013. The purpose of the narrowband mandate is to promote more efficient use of the VHF and UHF land mobile frequency bands.

Who is affected?

All land mobile Part 90, 25 kHz efficiency systems operating on VHF (150-174 MHz) and UHF (421-512 MHz) frequency bands.


The FCC has set the following deadlines for licensees and manufacturers, requiring migration to minimum 12.5 kHz efficiency systems.


January 1, 2011 Applications for new licenses or for license modifications to expand existing service areas must specify at least 12.5 kHz efficiency. The FCC will no longer accept applications for systems operating at 25 kHz efficiency.

January 1, 2013 All licensees must convert to and operate in at least 12.5 kHz efficiency. Existing dual mode (25/12.5 kHz) equipment must have the 25 kHz efficiency mode disabled via software. Equipment capable of operating only at 25 kHz efficiency must be replaced.

Note: The FCC has NOT set any date by which licensees must operate in 6.25 kHz efficiency in these bands.


What is Narrowbanding?

In an effort to promote more efficient use of spectrum, the FCC mandated all VHF and UHF Public Safety and Industrial /Business licensees using 25 kHz land mobile radio (LMR) systems migrate to narrowband 12.5 kHz efficiency technology by January 1, 2013.

Get more answers - Go to FCC Narrowbanding FAQ Page


12.5 kHz Efficiency

As a trusted leader in two-way communications, Motorola has been preparing for 12.5 kHz technology for over decade and offers the broadest choice of two-way radio equipment with close to 60 models capable of operating in 12.5 kHz efficiency. All Motorola radios certified by the FCC after February 14, 1997 meet the 12.5 kHz capability requirement. Newer Motorola radios enable modes of operation primarily through software, rather than firmware or hardware. The FCC will consider licensees to be in compliance if the 25 kHz efficiency mode of a dual mode 25/12.5 kHz radio is disabled via software and the radio user cannot subsequently reactivate the 25 kHz efficiency mode.

6.25 kHz Efficiency

For those licensees who want to voluntarily move to even greater efficiency than the 12.5 kHz efficiency required by the FCC, Motorola is currently shipping two complete product families that already meet any FUTURE FCC decision for licensees to operate in a 6.25 kHz equivalent efficiency mode.

  • ASTRO 25 product line for mission critical public safety markets
  • MOTOTRBO product line for commerce and enterprise markets

Both operate at two voice paths in a 12.5 kHz channel, using a Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) protocol. This technology allows licensees to double the capacity of their existing 12.5 kHz channel. In addition, they meet the current FCC requirement for licensees to operate in a 12.5 kHz efficiency mode by January 1, 2013.


Motorola Subscriber Radios and Stations Capable of Migrating to 12.5 kHz Efficiency

Download the Motorola Product Compliance Guide


With deadlines approaching rapidly, licensees who have not started their narrowband migration should considering the following steps today:

  • Take an inventory of your radios to assess what equipment is capable of operating in 12.5 kHz and what will need to be replaced. The FCC has required all radios certified since 1997 to include a 12.5 kHz efficiency mode, most new equipment likely is dual mode 25/12.5 kHz that can be simple converted via software.
  • Develop budget requirements and explore funding options.
  • Establish a conversion and implementation schedule.
  • Coordinate your conversion with neighboring agencies to facilitate continued interoperability among your agencies
  • Conduct tests during conversion to ensure your system continues to provide similar coverage.

Contact us


To meet later mandates planned by the FCC, consider new equipment that is capable of 6.25 kHz channels. These very narrowband systems are digital – your license should specify digital operations prior to use of this equipment.

  • MOTOTRBO TDMA will provide improved Capacity and Capability with Reduced Costs
  • MOTOTRBO provides 2 For 1 Channel Capacity for a 12.5kHz Channel
  • MOTOTRBO or NXDN technology investments require emission update on licenses
  • Simply adding a new emission designator does not require a frequency change
  • Adding emission designator supports system transition

Learn more about MOTOTRBO



Putting Off Narrowbanding? How to Get Started

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