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Press Release

ITU World Radiocommunication Conference to forge pathways for future digital communications

WRC-19 to manage scarce radio-frequency spectrum for rapidly evolving terrestrial and space-based communication technologies




Sharm El-Sheikh, 28 October 2019
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The World Radiocommunication Conference, the international treaty-making Conference governing the global management of scarce radio-frequency spectrum as well as geostationary-satellite and non-geostationary-satellite orbits, opened today in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.

 
The conference was opened by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi of Egypt. Egypt has been a Member State of ITU since 1876.

 
UN Secretary-General António Guterres addressed WRC-19 by video.

 
WRC-19, held every three to four years, is mandated to review and revise the Radio Regulations, the international treaty governing the use of radio-frequency spectrum and satellite orbits. Dr Amr Badawi of Egypt was appointed Chairman of the conference.

 
“The World Radiocommunication Conference, which opened today, will address some of the leading edge technological innovations set to play a pivotal role in tomorrow's digital economy and the future development of services, systems and technologies," said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao, noting that digital inclusion provides the chance to improve the lives of millions across the world. “A transformative revolution in connectivity is in the making with immense implications for the trillion-dollar telecommunication and ICT industry and in advancing many of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals." The Secretary-General thanked the Government of Egypt for hosting one of ITU's landmark conferences in Sharm-el-Sheikh.

 
“Today, even as billions of people and devices are connected to the Internet, increasing the efficiency of industries and companies, half the world remains unconnected," said Mr Mario Maniewicz, Director of the ITU Radiocommunication Bureau. “As we move into an era of both digital and environmental transformation, we must ensure that the decisions taken at WRC-19 will not only allow for new technologies and services to be deployed without interfering with existing ones, but also extend the benefits of technological advancement to all the world's citizens, bringing potential benefits to our society, the global economy and the environment."

 
Unlocking human potential with technology of the future

 
The conference will unlock great potential for human progress advancing many of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It will provide the tools for effective climate action, forge pathways for better access to health care, foster sustainable agricultural practices and reduce poverty and hunger, improve energy efficiency, facilitate Intelligent Transport Systems and machine-to-machine communications, make cities smart and communities more sustainable, foster safer travel on land, on air and at sea, and allow countries to participate in the digital economy by providing access to faster and more affordable broadband connectivity, especially in currently underserved communities.

 
WRC-19 decisions: Implications for future digital environment

 
WRC-19 will address requirements for some of the leading edge technological innovations set to play a pivotal role in tomorrow's digital economy with far-reaching implications for the trillion-dollar telecommunication and ICT industry.

 
Among a host of items on the agenda, the conference will:
  • Facilitate new innovations in mobile technology, identifying additional frequency bands for the future development of International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) and further enabling the rollout of IMT-2020 networks, also known as 5G.

  • Update and modernize the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) and expand geographical coverage, including in Polar regions.

  • Ensure that Earth exploration and meteorological-satellite systems continue to provide environmental monitoring, prediction and mitigation of the negative effects caused by climate change as well as monitor the earth's resources.

  • Consider additional frequencies for Earth Stations in M​otion (ESIM) communicating from aircraft, maritime vessels and land vehicles with satellites on the geostationary orbit (GSO).

  • Enhance the international regulatory framework to improve satellite broadband connectivity from new non-geostationary satellite systems composed of multiple, multi-satellite constellations.

  • Allocate frequency bands for H​igh-Altitude Platform​ Stations (HAPS) – ­ aircraft positioned in the stratosphere for very-long-duration flights used for telecommunications, emergency/public safety communications, intelligent transportation systems, maritime surveillance, and environmental monitoring.

  • Facilitate radiocommunication systems between train and trackside systems to meet the demands of a high-speed railway environment.

  • ​Provide effective communication for portable and mobile computer-based equipment over Wireless access systems, including radio local area networks (WiFi).

 
Over 3500 participants from ITU's 193 Member States are expected to attend the 2019 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-19) along with 267 observers from among ITU's 900 private sector members as well as members of international organizations.

 
Join the conversation on social media: #ITUWRC

 

 
Dates: 28 October – 22 November 2019

 
Venue: Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, International Congress Centre (SHICC)

 
Note for UN-accredited media: UN accreditation is valid, but due to strict security measures, all attendees must have event badges to access the WRC-19 venue. UN-accredited media are only required to email pressreg@itu.int expressing their intention to participate. They will be automatically pre-registered and will only need to show their UN Press badge to collect the event badge at the venue.

 
Foreign media requiring a visa to enter Egypt should submit their request for registration and accreditation as soon as possible to receive their confirmation letter for their visa application. Note: EGYPT VISA APPLICATIONS will re-open 29 October 2019.

 
Note for general and local media: Local media must also submit a request for accreditation and registration in advance of the conference. Upon advance accreditation and registration, they need to present a photo ID to receive the event badge on site.​