World Radiocommunication Conference
Highlights WRC2000 Newsroom
8 May-2June

 Istanbul, 12 May 2000 Nį 5
 11 May issue

15 May issue   


    Following the proposal of the Chairperson of Working Group 5A to submit a document that would encapsulate the general principles on which to base the consensus-building efforts for the review of spectrum and regulatory issues for advanced mobile applications in the context of IMT-2000, the Friday meeting discussed this text and started the detailed discussion of the proposals on the candidate bands.

    The Chairperson had to use all his talents to keep the discussions on track, several delegations being irresistibly tempted to turn the meeting into a drafting group. The debate was extremely lively and the number of interventions showed the high degree of interest in the issue and the requirement to maintain flexibility in the use of the bands for applications other than IMT-2000 at the national level. For example, it was said that because what is considered is geographic sharing between services, a country may elect to implement IMT-2000 in highly populated areas, whereas, in those with low population density, it can choose to use the same band for other applications that operate in accordance with the Table of Allocations.

    Others added that the idea was to ensure that there was no regulatory impediment to the continuation of existing services when countries chose to do so. But one country, wanting to stress that the flexibility should also cover the fact that the bands identified for IMT-2000 could be used by any technology, re-launched the debate where some countries supported the proposal while many others opposed it, considering that the intent behind the proposal was not clear and was pre-empting the discussion.

    After several attempts during which the Chairperson reiterated that the idea was to agree on the general guidelines and not on specific elements, and because of the strongly polarized views, he finally decided to ask delegations that had concerns on the text to meet outside the meeting so that they could review the document editorially in the two areas where concerns were expressed. A revised document will be re-issued that will incorporate the agreed new text which both groups of delegations will have prepared.

    All proposals for possible candidate bands were consolidated in a single document to facilitate the discussions. The document grouped the proposals into broad categories. The first category includes those proposals for bands below 1 GHz and refers to the existing bands used, by and large, by first-generation systems and some second-generation systems. Many of the proposals talk of evolution or migration to true 3G. They are seeking to ensure that some time in the future, countries will have the ability to access this part of spectrum for IMT-2000 applications.

    The second category includes proposals for the band 1 710-1 885 MHz. This is a band used in some parts of the world, quite extensively by 2nd generation systems. These proposals also talk of the potential for evolution to 3rd generation. In other countries, this band is not yet used for high density mobile services. So, there is a possibility to introduce 3G systems in this part of the spectrum quite early. This is a view supported by a large number of countries.

    Another category concerns proposals for bands above 2 GHz. These fall into 2 sub-categories: specific country proposals which reflect on national usage and others which focus essentially on the band around 2.5 GHz. Those proposals are in an area of the spectrum already allocated to the mobile service along with other services. The proposals show the opportunity for those countries to introduce 3G early. These proposals are also supported by a large number of countries.

    With respect to those major categories, an analysis reveals that there is strong support for the bands just below 1 GHz (40 countries), the bands in the range 1.7/1.8 GHz (50 countries) and the bands around 2.5 GHz (50 countries). At the same time, it also reveals that none of those bands, at this stage of the debate, enjoys majority support.

    For the Chairperson, the conclusion was clear: a package solution is inevitable and it will require access to more than one band. This also means that there is a need to consider all of the bands at the same time. This will add to the complexity of the debate because countries supporting one band over the others will want to ensure that those supporting other bands will be equally open to compromise. Therefore, the Working Group will attempt to proceed on a broad front in considering the bands together and no definitive position will be reached on any specific band until all of the bands have been considered. The Chairperson expressed optimism that if that approach was supported by all delegations, the solution would become quite obvious to the satisfaction of all.

    The RCC countries however reiterated their position according to which additional spectrum for IMT-2000 should not be made available at this time and should be deferred to the next WRC in 2003 as the flexibility requirements that had been expressed in the debate seemed to be incompatible with the objective of a "harmonized global band".

    In response to this move, France recalled that, while the CPM considered that 160 MHz was needed over and above the spectrum used already by 1st and 2nd generation systems, that spectrum would not be needed everywhere at the same time. It was stressed that harmonized bands did not necessarily limit delegations to a single global band. It was further stressed that the use of frequency bands between now and 2003 was not likely to change significantly and that proposals in 2003 would not be very different from todayís. Deferring the identification of additional spectrum would only complicate the replanning of these bands.

    "What this conference is set to achieve", said Australia, "is a cessation of divergence in future". "We want convergence which implies that any additional allocation should be worldwide", he added. "Because of the legacy problem in terms of 1st and 2nd systems, we must also achieve maximum commonality to allow for each country to select the best migration path and harness market forces to deliver flexibility and choice," he finally stated.

Distress and safety communications

Sub-Working Group 5B1

    Sub-Working Group 5B1 set up to consolidate proposals on the need to protect the distress and safety communications in the HF bands (see WRC2000 Highlights of 9 May, page 2) met twice today to debate the substance of the proposals. The outcome of the work will be covered when tabled to Working Group 5B.

Allocation to the radionavigation-satellite service (RNSS)

Sub-Working Group 5B2

    After debating the various proposals, the general view was that spectrum was to be made available and that an allocation was to be found. The discussions focused on where and under what conditions such allocation could be made. Most delegations agreed that, for the downlink, there were two options: 48 MHz at around 1.2 GHz albeit some constraints to protect other services sharing the bands, and some 20 MHz at around 5 GHz. For the uplink, it was considered possible to find approximately 10 MHz at around 5 GHz and another 50 MHz at around 1.3 GHz.

    A drafting group (5B2a) was set up to develop suitable texts. A second drafting group (5C2) was also set up to consider the other two items

  1. the addition of a space-to-space allocation in the bands 1 215-1 260 MHz and 1 559-1 610 MHz
  2. the status of services other than the radionavigation-satellite service in the band 1 559-1 610 MHz (see also WRC2000 Highlights of 11 May, page 3 for some of the issues).

Power limits for sharing between non-GSO FSS, GSO FSS and GSO BSS

Working Group 5D

    The meeting essentially focused its discussions on the sharing conditions between the GSO FSS and radiolocation and radionavigation-satellite services in the band 13.75 GHz-14 GHz with a view to protecting the GSO FSS.

    The discussions centred around the review of three criteria which are currently applicable to GSO FSS in this band. The first criteria concerns the minimal antenna diameter, the other two concern the maximum and minimum value of eirp (in simple terms the strengths of the signal when reaching the ground). Views on the issue of the antenna diameter rapidly turned the discussion into a debate. Large support was expressed for maintaining the same value for the diameter so as to keep the number of antennas as low as possible, thus minimizing the risk of harmful interference caused by radars also using this band. Satellite operators, on the other hand, would prefer as small a diameter as possible to enable the use of small antennas like VSAT.

    There was however agreement on the action to take with respect to the eirp values. Wide support was given to a ruling of the Radio Regulations Board according to which the maximum eirp value should not be made compulsory. The Working Group also favoured the deletion of the minimum value.

High-Density Fixed Systems

    The three drafting groups set up to consider HDFS in various bands all held one meeting today (see WRC2000 Highlights of 11 May, page 4). The outcome of the work will be covered when its conclusions will be considered by Sub-Working Group 5C3.

WRC-2000 reaches two major decisions

    The Conference held its second Plenary meeting to assess the progress of its committees and working groups and deal with any urgent matters that needed to be resolved quickly for WRC-2000 to proceed smoothly.

    Two major decisions were reached at this meeting. The first was the criteria necessary for the replanning of the broadcasting-satellite service (BSS) for Regions 1 and 3 which gave the green light to the replanning work. The output of the replanning exercise by the secretariat is expected to be completed by the last Wednesday of the conference (31 May 2000). The second was the endorsement of Spainís request to maintain HISPASAT-2 frequency assignments in the BSS Plan and associated feeder link Plan contained in the Radio Regulations and in the replanning process.

The stories behind the headlines

    What is the story behind the Spanish request?

    The date of bringing into use of HISPASAT-2 was subject to an eight-year regulatory time limit. Based on the information available to ITU, the analogue assignments in question were not brought into use within that time limit in March 1999. The Radiocommunication Bureau (BR), in application of the relevant provisions of the Radio Regulations and Rules of Procedure, suppressed the assignments from its files.

    Spain objected to the decision and requested that their case be submitted to the Radio Regulations Board (RRB) for consideration. Spain had made this request based on its interpretation of a provision of Resolution 533 on the implementation of the decisions of WRC-97 relating to the BSS Plans.

    The Board confirmed BRís decision on the cancellation of the HISPASAT-2 analogue and digital satellite network at 30į W but recognized a potential ambiguity between provisions of Resolution 533 and of the BSS Plans. In the end, the Board decided to refer the matter to WRC-2000 for consideration and appropriate action, noting the potential retroactive impact of a conference decision on the matter.

    In order to avoid suspension of the processing of submissions from other countries or consequential additional workload for BR, the Board decided to instruct BR to continue taking into account HISPASAT-2 in its calculations on a provisional basis, pending the decision of WRC-2000 on the matter. The decision taken by the conference at this Plenary now means that BR will have to remove the provisional nature of the results of its calculations and that Hispasat networks will be reinstated in the BSS Plans.

    Based on all this information, the Conference further decided that Resolution 533 should be revised in order to remove the inconsistency and avoid similar situations arising in the future for other systems, provided it is retained.

BSS replanning carries the day

    The conference approved the basic elements for the BSS replanning submitted to it by Working Group 1 of the Plenary allowing the Radiocommunication Bureau to undertake the replanning of the BSS and associated feeder-link Plans for Regions 1 and 3. These elements cover the basic BSS-to-BSS methodology, assumptions and criteria for replanning according to the conclusions of the Inter-conference Representative Group (IRG).

    The Conference further set 12 May 2000, 1700 hours (Istanbul time) as the date after which no new national preferences would be accepted. Satellite networks to be included in the planning are "Systems which, by 12 May 2000 1700 hours (Istanbul time), satisfy the principle to "protect notified assignments which are in conformity with Appendices S30/30 and S30A/30A, which have been brought into use and for which the date of bringing into use has been confirmed to the Bureau." These systems should also have provided due diligence by the same date.

    Networks submitted as having completed the procedure for modifications to the Plans but yet to be examined by the Bureau will be included provisionally on the basis of a successful BSS-to-BSS compatibility analysis and will be confirmed if they conform to the Plans as contained in Appendices S30 and S30A of the Radio Regulations. In parallel to the ongoing planning process, the Radiocommunication Bureau will carry out the compatibility analyses with respect to other services. If the results are unfavourable, the corresponding network will be removed from the planning process and the matter will be reported to the Conference.

    The request from the United Nations to provide East Timor, with an orbital position was also approved for inclusion in the replanning exercise.

Squaring the circle

    Delegations in GT PLEN 2 have now an impressive number of 85 agenda items for WRC-03. This number reflects only the requests made by delegations and does not include the items that will need to be added as a result of the decisions of Committees 4 and 5!

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