Recently, an EWA member conducting an audit of its FCC licenses sought EWA’s advice on FCC policies regarding the necessity of modifying licenses to reflect actual mobile counts. The member wanted to create a formula that would automate notification within the company when licenses needed to be modified, based on a percentage increase (or decrease) in number of units operating in the field, and also wanted to know the risks associated with FCC Enforcement should licensed mobile counts not reflect actual units in the field.
While the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau is concerned about spectrum warehousing—the practice of licensing more channels and mobile counts than can be reasonably justified—the Enforcement Bureau does not routinely verify licensed mobile counts unless they are investigating an interference complaint. Informal FCC staff guidance on the subject recommends that licensees should license only the number of units initially required and, subsequently, to update the mobile count when renewing or modifying that particular license. The FCC would rather licensees not file modifications each time the number of units goes up or down, unless the change is significant.