(a) General. Except as provided in this section, authorizations in the Wireless Radio Services may be assigned by the licensee to another party, voluntarily or involuntarily, directly or indirectly, or the control of a licensee holding such authorizations may be transferred, only upon application to and approval by the Commission.
(b) Limitations on transfers and assignments.
(1) A change from less than 50% ownership to 50% or more ownership shall always be considered a transfer of control.
(2) In other situations a controlling interest shall be determined on a case-by-case basis considering the distribution of ownership, and the relationships of the owners, including family relationships.
(4) Stations must meet all applicable requirements regarding transfers and assignments contained in the rules pertaining to the specific service in which the station is licensed.
(5) Licenses, permits, and authorizations for stations in the Amateur, Commercial Operator and Personal Radio Services (except 218-219 MHz Service) may not be assigned or transferred, unless otherwise stated.
(c) Application required. In the case of an assignment of authorization or transfer of control, the assignor must file an application for approval of the assignment on FCC Form 603. If the assignee or transferee is subject to the ownership reporting requirements of § 1.2112, the assignee or transferee must also file an updated FCC Form 602 or certify that a current FCC Form 602 is on file.
(1) In the case of a non-substantial (pro forma) transfer or assignment involving a telecommunications carrier, as defined in § 153(44) of the Communications Act, filing of the Form 603 and Commission approval in advance of the proposed transaction is not required, provided that:
(i) the affected license is not subject to unjust enrichment provisions under subpart Q of this part;
(ii) the transfer or assignment does not involve a proxy contest; and
(iii) the transferee or assignee provides notice of the transaction by filing FCC Form 603 within 30 days of its completion, and provides any necessary updates of ownership information on FCC Form 602.
(2) In the case of an involuntary assignment or transfer, FCC Form 603 must be filed no later than 30 days after the event causing the involuntary assignment or transfer.
(d) Notification of consummation. In all Wireless Radio Services, licensees are required to notify the Commission of consummation of an approved transfer or assignment using FCC Form 603. The assignee or transferee is responsible for providing this notification, including the date the transaction was consummated. For transfers and assignments that require prior Commission approval, the transaction must be consummated and notification provided to the Commission within 180 days of public notice of approval, and notification of consummation must occur no later than 30 days after actual consummation, unless a request for an extension of time to consummate is filed on FCC Form 603 prior to the expiration of this 180-day period. For transfers and assignments that do not require prior Commission approval, notification of consummation must be provided on FCC Form 603 no later than 30 days after consummation, along with any necessary updates of ownership information on FCC Form 602.
(e) Partial assignment of authorization. If the authorization for some, but not all, of the facilities of a radio station in the Wireless Radio Services is assigned to another party, voluntarily or involuntarily, such action is a partial assignment of authorization. To request Commission approval of a partial assignment of authorization, the assignor must notify the Commission on FCC Form 603 of the facilities that will be deleted from its authorization upon consummation of the assignment.
(f) Partitioning and disaggregation. Where a licensee proposes to partition or disaggregate a portion of its authorization to another party, the application will be treated as a request for partial assignment of authorization. The assignor must notify the Commission on FCC Form 603 of the geographic area or spectrum that will be deleted from its authorization upon consummation of the assignment.
(g) Involuntary transfer and assignment. In the event of the death or legal disability of a permittee or licensee, a member of a partnership, or a person directly or indirectly in control of a corporation which is a permittee or licensee, the Commission shall be notified promptly of the occurrence of such death or legal disability. Within 30 days after the occurrence of such death or legal disability (except in the case of a ship or amateur station), an application shall be filed for consent to involuntary assignment of such permit or license, or for involuntary transfer of control of such corporation, to a person or entity legally qualified to succeed to the foregoing interests under the laws of the place having jurisdiction over the estate involved. The procedures and forms to be used are the same procedures and forms as those specified in paragraph (b) of this section. In the case of Ship, aircraft, Commercial Operator, Amateur, and Personal Radio Services (except for 218-219 MHz Service) involuntary assignment of licenses will not be granted; such licenses shall be surrendered for cancellation upon the death or legal disability of the licensee. Amateur station call signs assigned to the station of a deceased licensee shall be available for reassignment pursuant to § 97.19 of this chapter.
(i) Trafficking. Applications for approval of assignment or transfer may be reviewed by the Commission to determine if the transaction is for purposes of trafficking in service authorizations.
(1) Trafficking consists of obtaining or attempting to obtain an authorization for the principal purpose of speculation or profitable resale of the authorization rather than for the provision of telecommunication services to the public or for the licensee's own private use.
(2) The Commission may require submission of an affirmative, factual showing, supported by affidavit of persons with personal knowledge thereof, to demonstrate that the assignor did not acquire the authorization for the principal purpose of speculation or profitable resale of the authorization. This showing may include, for example, a demonstration that the proposed assignment is due to changed circumstances (described in detail) affecting the licensee after the grant of the authorization, or that the proposed assignment is incidental to a sale of other facilities or a merger of interests.
(j) Processing of applications. Applications for assignment of authorization or transfer of control relating to the Wireless Radio Services will be processed pursuant either to general approval procedures or the immediate approval procedures, as discussed herein.
(1) General approval procedures. Applications will be processed pursuant to the general approval procedures set forth in this paragraph unless they are submitted and qualify for the immediate approval procedures set forth in paragraph (j)(2) of this section.
(i) To be accepted for filing under these general approval procedures, the application must be sufficiently complete and contain all necessary information and certifications requested on the applicable form, FCC Form 603, including any information and certifications (including those of the proposed assignee or transferee relating to eligibility, basic qualifications, and foreign ownership) required by the rules of this chapter and any rules pertaining to the specific service for which the application is filed, and must include payment of the required application fee(s) (see § 1.1102).
(ii) Once accepted for filing, the application will be placed on public notice, except no prior public notice will be required for applications involving authorizations in the Private Wireless Services, as specified in § 1.933(d)(9).
(iii) Petitions to deny filed in accordance with section 309(d) of the Communications Act must comply with the provisions of § 1.939, except that such petitions must be filed no later than 14 days following the date of the public notice listing the application as accepted for filing.
(iv) No later than 21 days following the date of the public notice listing an application as accepted for filing, the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (Bureau) will affirmatively consent to the application, deny the application, or determine to subject the application to further review. For applications for which no prior public notice is required, the Bureau will affirmatively consent to the application, deny the application, or determine to subject the application to further review no later than 21 days following the date on which the application has been filed, if filed electronically, and any required application fee has been paid (see § 1.1102); if filed manually, the Bureau will affirmatively consent to the application, deny the application, or determine to subject the application to further review no later than 21 days after the necessary data in the manually filed application is entered into ULS.
(v) If the Bureau determines to subject the application to further review, it will issue a public notice so indicating. Within 90 days following the date of that public notice, the Bureau will either take action upon the application or provide public notice that an additional 90-day period for review is needed.
(vi) Consent to the application is not deemed granted until the Bureau affirmatively acts upon the application.
(vii) Grant of consent to the application will be reflected in a public notice (see § 1.933(a)) promptly issued after the grant.
(viii) If any petition to deny is filed, and the Bureau grants the application, the Bureau will deny the petition(s) and issue a concise statement of the reason(s) for denial, disposing of all substantive issues raised in the petition(s).
(2) Immediate approval procedures. Applications that meet the requirements of paragraph (j)(2)(i) of this section qualify for the immediate approval procedures.
(i) To qualify for the immediate approval procedures, the application must be sufficiently complete, contain all necessary information and certifications (including those relating to eligibility, basic qualifications, and foreign ownership), and include payment of the requisite application fee(s), as required for an application processed under the general approval procedures set forth in paragraph (j)(1) of this section, and also must establish, through certifications, that the following additional qualifications are met:
(A) The license does not involve spectrum licensed in a Wireless Radio Service that may be used to provide interconnected mobile voice and/or data services under the applicable service rules and that would, if assigned or transferred, create a geographic overlap with spectrum in any licensed Wireless Radio Service (including the same service) in which the proposed assignee or transferee already holds a direct or indirect interest of 10% or more (see § 1.2112), either as a licensee or a spectrum lessee, and that could be used by the assignee or transferee to provide interconnected mobile voice and/or data services;
(B) The licensee is not a designated entity or entrepreneur subject to unjust enrichment requirements and/or transfer restrictions under applicable Commission rules (see §§ 1.2110 and 1.2111, and §§ 24.709, 24.714, and 24.839 of this chapter); and,
(C) The assignment or transfer of control does not require a waiver of, or declaratory ruling pertaining to, any applicable Commission rules, and there is no pending issue as to whether the license is subject to revocation, cancellation, or termination by the Commission.
(ii) Provided that the application establishes that it meets all of the requisite elements to qualify for these immediate approval procedures, consent to the assignment or transfer of control will be reflected in ULS. If the application is filed electronically, consent will be reflected in ULS on the next business day after the filing of the application; if filed manually, consent will be reflected in ULS on the next business day after the necessary data in the manually filed application is entered into ULS. Consent to the application is not deemed granted until the Bureau affirmatively acts upon the application.
[63 FR 68933, Dec. 14, 1998, as amended at 64 FR 62120, Nov. 16, 1999; 68 FR 42995, July 21, 2003; 68 FR 66276, Nov. 25, 2003; 69 FR 77549, Dec. 27, 2004; 69 FR 77944, Dec. 29, 2004; 76 FR 17349, Mar. 29, 2011; 81 FR 90745, Dec. 15, 2015]