World Radiocommunication Conference
Highlights WRC2000 Newsroom
8 May-2June

Istanbul, 9 May 2000 N° 2
8 May issue

10 May issue   

Allocation issues

    Committee 5 established four working groups to deal with the various issues allocated to it. Working Groups 5A and 5B held their first meeting today.

Working Group 5A
(IMT-2000, little LEOs, generic MSS allocation)


    The morning was devoted to the introduction of the various proposals related to IMT-2000. The key conclusions of the Conference Preparatory Meeting were stated: 1) 160 MHz of additional spectrum for the terrestrial component of IMT-2000, in addition to what is used for second generation cellular mobile systems; 2) the additional spectrum made available should be where there exists a reasonable chance to achieve a common frequency plan worldwide; 3) there is also a requirement of twice 67 MHz for the satellite component of IMT-2000 and 4) the consideration of using High Altitude Platform Stations (HAPS) for providing IMT-2000.

    In outlining the main points of their proposals, delegations generally expressed strong support for IMT-2000 and for the additional spectrum that is considered necessary to enable its global deployment. It was observed that the ITU framework had provided confidence for manufacturers to start developing hardware, for telecoms operators to secure licenses and begin investing. It was therefore essential to identify the necessary spectrum over and above the core bands already identified in the ITU Radio Regulations (RR) or that already used for first or second cellular mobile to be able to provide low-cost, high-quality multimedia and Internet services to mass markets around the world. It was therefore felt that this conference should provide that spectrum to continue providing the stability and confidence that regulators, investors, operators and manufacturers needed to move forward with third generation systems and services.

    It was also stressed that for many small countries without a manufacturing base on which to leverage volume-pricing for equipment and handsets and for which economic activities such as international tourism was ranking high in their GDP, global harmonization was the best way to serve their interests.

    In all cases, the need to protect the investments was stressed as was the need for a transition period to allow some re-farming of bands. The package solution to be found was therefore to be flexible, practical and efficient to achieve the global objectives of IMT-2000.

    While supporting the implementation of IMT-2000, one country aired the view that spectrum should not be reserved for a particular technology given changing market demands and rapid technological development. It therefore considered that candidate bands for IMT-2000 should also allow for other advanced communication applications, including wireless systems and devices that provide high-quality voice, data and/or video uses or Internet access. It also proposed that a change to the Radio Regulations be adopted to enable countries to license IMT-2000 spectrum to HAPS when used as a base station for terrestrial IMT-2000 within the bands already identified in the Radio Regulations.

    Some countries, on the other hand, expressed doubt as to the need to decide at this conference on additional spectrum for IMT-2000. It was stressed that studies carried out so far lacked practical experience and rested only on estimates and anticipated demand which experience should first validate within existing spectrum before considering reserving additional spectrum. It was also felt that any decision should take account not only of technical aspects but also of the financial impact of spectrum re-farming. To protect the investments already made in second generation systems, some preferred the status quo until further studies are carried out rather than transition period. Some others also felt that the needs of developing countries had not been sufficiently covered or at least clearly spelled out and, on face value, they did not see a need to provide additional spectrum for IMT-2000 in bands that were heavily used and where many other services were competing for access.

Working Group 5B
(Distress and safety communications, MSS downlink allocation, Radionavigation-satellite service,
new digital technology for MMS)

    Distress and safety communications

    After some housekeeping, Working Group 5B started with a presentation of some of the proposals submitted to it. The first topic it addressed was the protection of operational, distress and safety communications in the HF bands.

    HF channels, allocated for the distress and safety communications of the maritime and aeronautical mobile services, have been subjected to an increase in harmful interference because of unauthorized use. They are also used for international routine calling. Routine calling can however cause interference to distress and safety communications due to the caller not being aware of ongoing traffic on the ship calling frequency. This is because the ship is tuned to a different receive frequency for coast station calls and replies.

    While all participants agreed that it was essential for the safety-of-life and property that these distress and safety channels be kept free from unauthorized use and harmful interference, the methods to achieve this objective differed.

    For one group, it was considered necessary to allocate those HF channels exclusively to the distress and safety communications banning other form of communications in those bands. Others wanted to introduce new regulatory provisions.

    Another group felt that new regulation was not required but emphasized that enforcement of existing regulations was necessary. It was proposed that countries should be more active in identifying and locating sources of unauthorized emission interfering with both aeronautical and maritime safety-of-life applications and take action to prevent such emissions while encouraging alternative methods for international calling.

Mobile-Satellite Service

    The second topic, for which proposals were introduced, dealt with the demand for additional spectrum for downlink in the Mobile-Satellite Service. While there was convergence of proposals on the fact that the band 1 559-1 567 MHz should not be used to provide this additional spectrum, there were dissenting views on how to deal with proposals requesting consideration of alternative bands for this purpose. Some felt that this was not strictly within the mandate of this conference. It should be recalled that an agenda for WRC can only be adopted by the Council, ITU’s annual governing body.

    On a proposal by the chairperson to set up three sub-working groups to deal with the various issues, agreement was reached on two of them but the third one is still being debated because of the divergent opinions on whether or not to accept the proposals related to the MSS downlink in bands other than the one stipulated in the agenda.

    One of the two sub-working groups will deal with protection of distress and safety communications in the HF bands as well as the use of new digital technology for the maritime mobile service, while the other will consider proposals related to the radionavigation-satellite service.

    Discussions will continue at the next meeting to decide on the fate of both the MSS downlink proposals and the associated sub-working group.

Working Group 1 of the Plenary

    The first meeting of this group also took place today and considered a crucial document containing findings of the Inter-conference Representative Group (IRG) and the Group of Experts (GTE) that carried out feasibility studies for the review and possible revision of the 1997 broadcasting-satellite service (BSS) Plan for Regions 1 and 3. A need was felt at WRC-97 to bring about more fundamental changes in the Regions 1 and 3 BSS Plan to take account of developments in satellite technology and to provide assignments and orbital positions for new countries (considering that this Plan was originally adopted over twenty-years ago).

    What is at stake? Under the existing Plan, each country enjoys a certain capacity and the use of that planned capacity is restricted to national services. However, this capacity was considered too small to be economical.

    One of the compromises reached at WRC-97 was to request ITU to study ways in which the capacity for each country could be increased. These studies have shown that an increase in capacity compared with the Plan adopted by WRC-97 may be possible.

    Indeed, based on the results of a series of replanning exercises, the IRG has found that the equivalent of 10 analogue channels could, under certain conditions, be provided to countries in Region 1 and 12 to those of Region 3.

    The presentation of the report on the IRG and GTE findings led to the setting up of an Ad hoc group (GT PLEN Ad hoc 1) to look into the criteria and other related issues (methodology, compatibility with other services, etc) in order to re-draw up the BSS Plan for Regions 1 and 3 at this Conference.

Regulatory issues

Working Group 4B
(Review of Appendix S3 to the Radio Regulations)

    Working Group 4B held its first meeting to consider spurious emissions for all transmitters in all frequency bands (Agenda item 1.2). The aim is to finalize outstanding issues in the review of Appendix S3 (Table of maximum permitted spurious emission power levels). Studies had already been carried out by the ITU, the results of which were consolidated in the Report of the Conference Preparatory Meeting (CPM). While these results were endorsed, differences have emerged regarding a proposal to split into categories the limits of the spurious emissions concerning space and earth stations. Subworking Group 4B1 has been set up to find a way forward.

    Earth stations on board vessels

    Proposals were introduced on the question of considering regulatory and technical provisions to enable earth stations located on board vessels to operate in the fixed-satellite service networks in the bands 3700 – 4200 MHz and 5925 – 6425 MHz, including their coordination with other services allocated in these bands (Agenda item 1.8).

    Two divergent views emerged during the discussion. One position, held mainly by the Inter-American Telecommunications Commission (CITEL) and the Asia-Pacific Telecommunity (APT), advocates the use of frequency bands by earth stations on board vessels, subject to complying with requirements regarding the protection of terrestrial services (for example, coordination when approaching a coastal area or port). A coordination distance of between 200 and 370 km is under consideration.

    Europe, Africa, and the Arab States, expressed concern over the use of these bands by earth stations on board vessels because studies on compatibility and interference with terrestrial services are yet to be completed (a Subworking Group (4B2) has been set up to find a solution).

Working Group 4A
(Review of S7 and PP98 resolutions)

    The first meeting of Working Group 4A took place this afternoon to consider the results of ITU-R technical and operational studies in respect of Appendix S7 to the Radio Regulations and take the appropriate decisions to revise this Appendix. In essence, Appendix S7 deals with the method for determining the coordination area around an earth station in frequency bands shared among space and terrestrial radiocommunication services.

    The studies resulted in the development of a new Recommendation entitled "Determination of the coordination area around an earth station in frequency bands between 100 MHz and 105 GHz". The Recommendation was developed with a view to providing a single consolidated recommendation covering methods for determining coordination areas.

    Based on this Recommendation, the CPM had identified five options (see below), indicating their advantages and disadvantages, from which to choose.

    While positions stated in the proposals which were presented today show no common view on how best to handle the revision of Appendix S7, a number of delegations seem to be moving towards options 3 and 5.

  1. To replace the text of Appendix S7 with text based on the Recommendation
  2. To replace the text of Appendix S7 with text based on the Recommendation and establish a permanent agenda item to update the tables of parameters in Appendix S7 in response to allocation decisions made at the previous conference
  3. To replace the text of Appendix S7 with text based on the Recommendation and create a mechanism, for example, via a new WRC resolution to allow updating of the system parameter values as needed under an extraordinary agenda item to a WRC.
  4. To replace the text of Appendix S7 with text based on most of the Recommendation but to incorporate by reference, the parameter tables of the Recommendation since they require frequent updating.
  5. To incorporate the Recommendation by reference.

    Today’s meeting was mainly devoted to the presentation of documents. The real discussion is yet to begin.

Please note that the Chairperson of the Conference, Mr Yurdal, is Chairman of the Telecommunications Authority of Turkey and not Director-General of Türk Telekom as stated in yesterday’s Highlights.
Not an official document - For information only
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