World Radiocommunication Conference sets future course
countries sign treaty governing spectrum and satellite orbits
Geneva, 17 February 2012 – The World Radiocommunication
Conference 2012 (WRC-12) is set to conclude its deliberations today with the
signing of the Final Acts that revise the Radio Regulations, the international
treaty governing the use of radio-frequency spectrum and satellite orbits.
Over 3000 participants, representing 165 out of ITU’s 193 Member States
attended the four-week Conference, braving the extreme winter conditions
prevailing in Geneva. Over 100 Observers from among ITU’s 700 private sector
members along with international organizations also attended WRC-12.
The Conference was steered under the Chairmanship of Mr Tariq Al Awadhi of
the United Arab Emirates, along with six Vice-Chairmen: Mr Decker Anstrom
(United States), Mr Eric Fournier (France), Mr Albert Nalbandian (Armenia), Mr
Mahiddine Ouhadj (Algeria), Mr Habeeb Al-Shankiti (Saudi Arabia) and Mr Alan
Jamieson (New Zealand).
ITU Conference forges global consensus
WRC-12 Chairman Tariq Al Awadhi said, “The Conference set out to tackle very
complex issues related to radiocommunications and I am delighted that after four
weeks of sometimes difficult negotiations we have arrived at consensus that will
shape the way we communicate in the future.”
ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré expressed satisfaction at the outcome of
the Conference. “WRC-12 has helped define new and better ways to regulate radio
services and applications, and represents a major contribution in making the
world a better place for all,” Dr Touré said. “The work done here will make the
world a better place to communicate – and that will make the world a better
place to live in.” He highlighted the achievements of WRC-12 in allocating
spectrum resources for mobile broadband and for addressing the digital dividend
issue which “now provides for a great deal of global harmonization of the use of
the 700 MHz band for all regions by the services which most need it”. He also
commended the delegates on the attention given to Earth observation
radiocommunication applications, which are crucial for monitoring and combating
climate change and for disaster prediction.
“Over the last four weeks, delegates from around the world have strived
towards paving the way for the future of wireless communications,” François
Rancy, Director of ITU’s Radiocommunication Bureau said. “By carefully reviewing
and revising the Radio Regulations, we have now firmly established the
foundations for radiocommunication technologies to serve the interests of users
Mr Rancy added that the Conference was a resounding success, having achieved
consensus on all technical matters as well as on other, more difficult issues.
Emerging from an overnight debate to finalize all technical and regulatory
decisions, WRC-12 also adopted a Resolution for cooperation and assistance to
the Palestine Authority to foster the development and technical operations of
its radiocommunication systems,
WRC-12 addressed some 30 agenda items related to frequency allocation and
frequency sharing for the efficient use of spectrum and orbital resources, thus
ensuring high quality radiocommunication services for mobile and satellite
communications, maritime and aeronautical transport as well as for scientific
purposes related to the environment, meteorology and climatology, disaster
prediction, mitigation and relief.
Key WRC-12 highlights:
Spectrum for International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT)
In addition to the use of the 790-862 MHz in Regions 1 and 3, WRC-12
considered further spectrum allocations to the mobile service, including
International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) to facilitate the development of
terrestrial mobile broadband applications in the frequency band 694 – 790 MHz.
This issue has been placed on the WRC-15 Agenda together with the need to
consider additional spectrum allocations for the mobile service.
Increase efficiency in the use of the spectrum/orbit resource
In addition to the clarification of the notion of bringing into use of
satellite network frequency assignments (satellite deployed and maintained at
the notified orbital position for a continuous period of ninety days), WRC-12
also mandated the ITU Radiocommunication Bureau to initiate enquiries to
administrations to provide information on the movement of satellites. Improved
due diligence information, including more detail information on the identity of
the spacecraft used for the operation of the frequency assignments was also
agreed to foster the long term access and development of the Broadcasting
Satellite Service (BSS) in the 21-4-22 GHz band in Regions 1 and 3. WRC-12
improved the satellite coordination by reducing the coordination arc in parts of
the most congested spectrum and agreed to look into the possibility of further
Early warning, disaster mitigation and relief operations
With reference to emergency telecommunications, WRC-12
addressed the application of new technologies, such as IMT and intelligent
transport systems (ITS) to support or supplement advanced public protection and
disaster relief applications.
WRC-12 instructed ITU-R to continue studying aspects of radiocommunications
and ICT that are relevant to early warning, disaster mitigation and relief
operations and encouraged administrations to consider using identified frequency
bands when undertaking their national planning for the purposes of achieving
regionally harmonized frequency bands or ranges for advanced public protection
and disaster relief solutions.
Earth observation’s societal and economic value recognized
WRC-12 focused on “The importance of Earth observation radiocommunication
applications” in collecting and exchanging Earth observation data to maintain
and improve the accuracy of weather forecasts, which contribute to the
protection of life and preservation of property around the world. The Conference
reaffirmed that Earth observation applications have considerable societal and
economic value and urged administrations to protect the Earth observation
systems in the related frequency bands.
Meteorological-satellite service gets more bandwidth
Non-geostationary satellites are an important part of the space-based Global
Observing System and WRC-12 allocated additional spectrum to the
Satellite remote passive sensing
WRC-12 updated spectrum use aimed at the future of Earth observation
applications with the development of passive sensors flying on meteorological
and environmental satellites to monitor water vapour and oxygen spectral lines,
which are needed for ice cloud and precipitation measurements and for storm
monitoring and climate studies.
Oceanographic radars get support
WRC-12 adopted the relevant protection levels for interference caused by
oceanographic radars. These radars operate using ground-waves that propagate
over the sea to measure coastal sea surface conditions in support of
environmental, oceanographic, meteorological, climatological, maritime and
disaster mitigation operations and for the surveillance of coastal pollution,
fisheries management, search and rescue, beach erosion, and maritime navigation.
Maritime communication requirements to support safety systems for
ships and ports
WRC-12 addressed maritime communication requirements to support safety
systems for ships and port operations. The conference included new provisions in
the Radio Regulations to improve satellite detection of automatic information
systems using VHF channels.
Transmitting frequencies in the VHF maritime mobile band
The conference also considered the use of new technologies in the maritime
service needed to the “Table of transmitting frequencies in the VHF maritime
mobile band”, which defines the channel numbering for maritime VHF
communications based on 25 kHz channel spacing as well as where digital
technologies could be deployed.
WRC-12 decided that necessary spectrum would be available for the
introduction of applications and concepts in air traffic management that can
support data links carrying safety-critical aviation information. These systems
will enhance aeronautical communications capability and – in conjunction with
more precise navigational capabilities – allow flight routing to be more
efficient, resulting in fewer delays, shorter flight times on average, lower
fuel costs and reduced CO² emissions. ITU-R will continue to study any
compatibility issues between the broadcasting service and aeronautical mobile
(route) service in the band 108–117.975 MHz that may arise from the introduction
of digital sound broadcasting systems.
The growth in the aviation industry calls for expanded capacity of mobile
communication links that can operate over the horizon. WRC-12 decided that
notifying administrations of mobile-satellite service networks shall accommodate
the spectrum needed for distress, urgency and safety communications of the
global maritime distress and safety system (GMDSS) and for the aeronautical
mobile-satellite (route) service communications.
Aeronautical mobile (route) service
Aeronautical mobile (route) service systems are critical for various air
traffic and flight safety communications. Some of the communication systems,
such as traffic information, automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast, and
flight information provide easily accessible air traffic information to multiple
air traffic managers at the same time, allowing for more efficient use of
airspace. The allocation of the frequency band 960−1164 MHz to the aeronautical
mobile (route) service is intended to support the introduction of applications
and concepts in air traffic management which are data intensive and which could
support data links that carry safety critical aeronautical data.
Aeronautical mobile to protect other primary services in 37−38 GHz
A number of countries are deploying space research service earth station
receivers in the band 37−38 GHz to support manned near-Earth missions and
deep-space missions. WRC-12 decided to exclude the aeronautical component of
this mobile service allocation to ensure proper protection of existing and
planned space research and mobile services.
WRC-12 addressed the lack of spectrum available for aerospace surveillance
and tracking the launch and manoeuvring of spacecraft and provided an additional
allocation in the frequency band 154−156 MHz to the radiolocation service in
For more information, please see
www.itu.int/net/newsroom/wrc/2012/index.aspx or contact:
Chief, Media Relations
and Public Information
High-res broadcast quality video available on demand