The same idea could be applied to unlicensed allocations, where the unbounded number of operators makes it essentially impossible for Coasian adjustments to be made: a neighbor that would like quieter unlicensed devices has nobody to make a deal with, nor do unlicensed users have an effective way to band together to make a deal if they’d like to increase their own transmit power. This approach also has the benefit, as in the receiver license case, of giving the regulator a tool for changing operating expectations over time, e.g. ratcheting down receiver protections or increasing receiver standards.
The catch-phrase “licensed unlicensed” is obviously a contradiction in terms; it’s shorthand for a regime where non-exclusive operating permissions are issued to a limited number of entities, while retaining the key characteristic that has made unlicensed successful: the ability of end users to choose for themselves what equipment to buy and deploy. These entities can use or sub-license these authorizations to build and/or sell devices to end-users.
How it would work
These “unlicensed licenses” would have the same technical rules as unlicensed or license-exempt currently does, e.g. the Part 15 conditions that one may not cause interference to a primary, and must accept interference from anyone else. However, the ownership and transferability would differ: only license holders would be able to seek device certification, though that right could be sub-licensed to other parties so that any number of device designs could be sold by any number of manufacturers.