Regulatory bodies have predicted an impending shortage in commercial radio frequency spectrum in the near future.
However, due to outdated regulatory practices, many of these bands are in fact inefficiently underutilised. Spectrum
measurement campaigns have be carried out around the world to determine the extent to which this is true. However,
there still seems to be a lack of knowledge regarding spectrum occupancy in South Africa. A spectrum measurement
system was thus designed and employed to measure the spectrum occupancy of the ultra-high frequency (UHF), global
system for mobile communications (GSM) 900 MHz and GSM 1800 MHz bands through a measurement campaign
in the Hatfield area of Pretoria, South Africa. A method for determining spectrum occupancy, from raw spectrum
measurements, has been described and used to calculate the average spectrum occupancy of these bands. Occupancy
in the UHF band was found to be fairly constant at approximately only 20%. While the maximum occupancy of the
GSM 900 MHz band was calculated to be much higher at approximately 92% and that of the GSM 1800 band to be
approximately 40%. However, the GSM 900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands did exhibit fluctuations in occupancy of between
10% and 20% respectively according to the time of day. Slight variations in occupancy of between 1% and 3% were also
evident over the days of the week. These results are placed into context by a comparison with the findings of various
other measurement campaigns from around the world. When compared, occupancy was generally found to be lower in
the UHF bands but higher in the mobile bands.