Important decisions were taken on global allocation at 5 GHz. for mobile wireless access systems, thereby paving the way for the use of wireless devices that do not require individual licences, those of which can be used to create broadband networks in homes, offices and schools. These networks are also used in public facilities in so-called “hot spots”, such as airports, cafés, hotels, hospitals, train stations and conference sites, which offer broadband access to the Internet. The use of these frequency bands is subject to provisions that provide interference mitigation mechanisms and power emission limits in order to avoid interference into other radiocommunication services operating in the same spectrum range.
The 2003 conference also adopted a new Resolution which enables the deployment of new technologies for wideband and broadband public protection and disaster relief applications. WRC-2003 opened the door for the commercial introduction of a new mobile information service: two-way real-time broadband connectivity to aircraft passengers and crew. There were many other decisions dealing with other services such as; aeronautical services, future development of 3G mobile applications, earth stations on board vessels, the protection of radio astronomy, amateur radio regulations, the sound broadcasting satellite service, the radionavigation-satellite service, sharing criteria for VSAT applications and land, ship and airborne radars, etc.
ITU Regional Radiocommunication Conference – 2004: Inter Alia resolutions were adopted by the first session of the Regional Radiocommunication Conference held in Geneva for planning of the digital terrestrial broadcasting service in parts of Regions 1 and 3, in the frequency bands 174-230 MHz and 470-862 MHz (RRC-04).
ITU Regional Radiocommunication Conference – 2006: At RRC-06, a treaty agreement was signed at the conclusion of ITU´s Regional Radiocommunication Conference (RRC-06) in Geneva, heralding the development of ´all-digital´ terrestrial broadcast services for sound and television
ITU World Radiocommunication Conference – 2007: The three main issues addressed at WRC-07 were: determining standards for advanced mobile services; identifying and agreeing on new spectrum allocations IMT-Advanced Wireless Broadband Services; and discussing ways to improve the framework and approach to spectrum management . An important goal of the conference was to earmark the use of spectrum on a worldwide basis facilitating its development by tapping into the higher frequencies beyond 1GHz, leading to an increase in the data capacity of new systems.
The ITU initiated the standardization of systems beyond IMT-2000 – known as IMT-Advanced or 4G - as early as 2000. Collectively, the IMT-2000 standards became the basis for what the industry and regulators came to refer to as “third-generation” or “3G” mobile systems, distinguishing them from the existing generations of analogue (1G) and digital (2G) mobile systems. IMT-2000 envisions transmission speeds ranging from 2 megabits per second (Mbit/s) on a stationary or nomadic basis, up to 348 kilobits per second (kbit/s) at vehicular speeds.
The actual standards as presented in the same GSR Discussion Paper referenced are:
- IMT-Direct-Sequence (IMT-DS) - Also known as Wideband-Code Division Mulitple Access (W-CDMA) or UMTS Terrestrial Radio Access – Frequency Division Duplexing (UTRA-FDD), used in the Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) 3G standard.
- IMT-Multi-Carrier (IMT-MC) - Also known as Code Division Multiple Access 2000 (CDMA2000), the successor to second-generation (2G) CDMA.
- IMT-Time-Division (IMT-TD) - This comprises: TD-CDMA (Time Division - Code Division Multiple Access) and TD-SCDMA (Time Division - Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access).
- IMT-Single Carrier (IMT-SC) - Also known as Enhanced Date rate for GSM Evolution or “EDGE” .
- IMT-Frequency Time (IMT-FT) also known as Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications or “DECT”.
While WiMAX and IMT-2000 developed along different paths, they were evolving toward functional equivalency. Both provide broadband Internet access (roughly equivalent to a DSL line), as well as voice connectivity. WRC – 2007 ultimately adopted a resolution adding the WiMAX air interface specification as the 6th IMT-2000 technology. They also modified the general naming conventions for IMT technologies so that:
- 3G technologies will continue to be known as “IMT-2000”;
- 4G technologies will be known as “IMT-Advanced”, and;
- Collectively, all of the 3G and 4G technologies will be known as simply “IMT”.
Digital Dividend Bands
Prior to WRC-07, the frequency band 790-862 MHz was allocated to Regions 1 and 3 of the broadcasting service and the fixed service on a primary basis. In Region 2 the mobile service was allocated on a primary basis and, additionally, in nineteen countries of Region 1, to the aeronautical radionavigation service (ARNS) on a primary basis (RR No. 5.312).
A decision of the WRC-07 was to allocate the 790-862 MHz sub-band in Region 1 (covering the European Broadcasting Area and Africa) to the Mobile Service for IMT technologies such as 3G, 4G, WiMAX on a primary basis, except for aeronautical mobile, and on shared basis with the broadcasting service until 17 June 2015. However, the amount of spectrum vacated by television broadcasting services, and making way for DTT according to the Final Acts of WRC-07, varies by region. Box 7.2.1 shows the size of the Digital Dividend resulting from Digital Switchover by ITU Region.
Spectrum Management Guidelines
The ways to further improve the framework and approach to spectrum management was an important topic discussed at length at WRC-07, and it led to agreement on Resolution 951 which established guidelines for evaluating and developing concepts related to four options identified in the resolution for enhancing the framework and for preparing solutions to be discussed at WRC.12. The four options include: keeping current practices, revising current service definitions, creating new service definitions, and introducing composite definitions.
ITU World Radiocommunication Conference – 2012. The agenda for WRC-12 can be viewed at www.itu.int/ITU-R/index.asp?category=study-groups&rlink=rcpm-wrc-11-studies&lang=en.
There are over 35 agenda items with several examples listed below:
- 1.14 to consider requirements for new applications in the radiolocation service and review allocations or regulatory provisions for implementation of the radiolocation service in the range 30-300 MHz, in accordance with Resolution[COM6/14] (WRC-07);
- 1.19 to consider regulatory measures and their relevance, in order to enable the introduction of software-defined radio and cognitive radio systems, based on the results of ITU-R studies, in accordance with Resolution [COM6/18] (WRC-07);
- 1.20 to consider the results of ITU-R studies and spectrum identification for gateway links for high altitude platform stations (HAPS) in the range of 5 850-7 075 MHz in order to support operations in the fixed and mobile services, in accordance with Resolution 734 (Rev.WRC-07).
- Resolution 749 (WRC-07) and Agenda item 1.17 of WRC-12 tasks the ITU-R Sector “to conduct sharing studies for Regions 1 and 3 in the band 790-862 MHz between the mobile service and other services in order to ensure adequate protection of services allocated to the band and to take appropriate action." See Box 7.2.2 below.
- In view of the complexity and importance of WRC‑12 Agenda item 1.17 issues, a dedicated Joint Task Group 5-6 (JTG 5-6) was established to study how mobile service can share the band 790-862 MHz band with:
- the Broadcasting service (Issue A);
- the Aeronautical radionavigation service (Issue B); and
- the Fixed service (Issue C).
- These issues were further sub-divided by cases according to either an ITU-R Region (for Issue B and Issue C, also See See RR provision No. 5.2.). or to whether or not the countries were Contracting Members of the GE06 Agreement (Issue A). Appropriate methods have been proposed for each issue and case.
- The work of the Joint Task Group, in providing the text for the draft CPM Report addressing the results of sharing studies for fixed, mobile and broadcasting services in the band 790-862 MHz in Regions 1 and 3, was completed in May 2010 and indicates that there is a need to protect certain other primary terrestrial services from the newly allocated mobile service in Region 1. Of particular significance the need for coordination and interference avoidance between mobile services and aeronautical radionavigation services (ARNS) in those countries where ARNS has a primary allocation. See RR provision No. 5.312).
- Coordination between GE06 Contracting and Non-Contracting member states requires careful consideration of the spectrum sharing studies. Sharing options are outlined in the Annexes attached to the report. However, a number of interference issues are not yet resolved, suggesting that further study of interference issues is necessary. In some cases, a consensus could not be reached around a single option. This implies that digital switchover will occur at different times over the period leading up to analogue shut-off.