ECC Newsletter December 2015 – WRC-15 Special Edition

Summary of the outcome of WRC-15

In this article, we've made a very short summary of the outcome of the Conference for each topic. You can see a more detailed report from each of the four weeks of the Conference at the CEPT web portal, Conference Preparatory Group (CPG) home page.

Results for mobile broadband

WRC-15 confirmed the primary mobile allocation and the IMT identification in the band 694-790 MHz band in Region 1 without additional constraints with respect to broadcasting other than the provisions included in the Geneva 06 Agreement. Read more details here.

The Conference harmonised the frequency bands 3 400 - 3 600 MHz and 1 427 - 1 518 MHz for mobile broadband including, when appropriate, an IMT identification, on a large geographical scale, while keeping current regulatory status for Europe in the band 1 452 - 1 492 MHz. Although CEPT aimed at a larger harmonisation of the range 3 600 – 3 800 MHz, it had to realise that it was rather isolated with this proposal. Therefore maintaining the current situation kept the balance and supported the harmonisation of the 1 427 – 1 518 MHz band.

WRC-15 agreed to maintain the existing status of the band 470-694 MHz in Region 1 and to call for a review of the spectrum use of the frequency band 470-960 MHz at the WRC-23.

Results for satellite communications

CEPT came to WRC-15 with a large number of proposals to improve satellite regulatory provisions and the waste majority of the principles portrayed in the European common proposals were approved by the Conference. CEPT thereby contributed to the improvement of a number of satellite coordination procedures applicable to frequency assignments pertaining to satellite networks, in particular clarifications of a number of regulatory provisions brought into force at the previous Conference. WRC-15 for example approved further clarifications to the ‘bringing into use’ and ‘suspension’ mechanisms of the Radio Regulations; the latter including penalties in case of late notification. These actions constitute a step forward towards a more transparent and efficient use of the scare orbital and spectrum resources. In addition, several efficiencies to the process governing satellite coordination procedures were agreed by the Conference. Based on a CEPT proposal, a mechanism for automatic generation of advance publication information for networks subject to coordination, was also approved by the Conference. An option to finally stop communicating with ITU by sending faxes was also agreed.

The Conference also clarified the applicability of the Radio Regulations to earth stations in motion operating in satellite services.

With regard to additional allocations to services for satellite communications, WRC-15 agreed on a primary allocation in Region 1 to the Fixed Satellite Service (FSS) (space-to-Earth) in the frequency band 13.40-13.65 GHz. A corresponding allocation for the FSS (Earth-to-space) in the frequency band 14.5-14.8 GHz was also agreed in a limited number of Region 1 countries with associated limitations.

WRC-15 also approved a new primary allocation to the maritime-mobile satellite service (space-to-Earth) in the 7 375-7 750 MHz band.

As supported by the CEPT and other regional organisations, no allocation was made to the mobile-satellite service in the range 22-26 GHz.

Results for the scientific use of spectrum

The Conference agreed to an extension of the Earth Exploration Satellite Service (EESS) (active) allocation in the bands 9.2-9.3 and 9.9-10.4 GHz; and on a primary allocation in the band 7190-7250 MHz to EESS (Earth-to-space) based on a technical conditions proposed by the CEPT (read more about planned usage of EESS here).

WRC-15 also updated the conditions of use of the 410-420 MHz band for systems communicating in the proximity of orbiting manned space vehicles.

Results for aeronautical, maritime and radiodetermination services

WRC-15 agreed on a primary allocation to the radiolocation service in the 77.5–78.0 GHz band for ground-based applications, including automotive radars with the associated technical and operational provisions, derived from the CEPT proposal.

In order to address the need of global flight tracking (GFT), a new primary allocation was made to the aeronautical mobile-satellite (R) service in the frequency band 1 087.7-1 092.3 MHz in order to enable the satellite reception of Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) emissions from aircraft, transmitted in accordance with ICAO standards. This solution is fully in line with the CEPT position.

WRC-15 approved a worldwide primary allocation to the aeronautical mobile (route) service in the band 4200-4400 MHz to support Wireless Avionics Intra-Communications (WAIC).

For the control and non-payload communication (CNPC) links for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), WRC-15 made a provisional footnote allocation in a number of FSS bands. ICAO is invited to start developing the necessary standard and recommended practices. The provisional allocation will come into force after the WRC-19 approval of technical conditions of CNPC links usage of those bands.

The Conference adopted appropriate provisions to promote a more efficient usage of the existing spectrum for on-board communication stations in the maritime mobile service and to foster the VHF Data Exchange System (VDES) to enhance while protecting the existing Automatic Identification system (AIS). Consideration of the satellite component for VDES has been postponed to WRC-19.

Other topics

Concerning the feasibility of achieving a continuous reference time-scale, WRC-15 agreed a framework for further study including wider collaboration with relevant international bodies such as the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM), International Committee for Weights and Measures (CIPM) and General Conference on Weights and Measures (CGPM).

WRC-15 also agreed to encourage administrations, on a worldwide basis, to consider parts of the frequency range 694-894 MHz in their national planning for broadband Public Protection and Disaster Relief (PPDR) applications.

Agenda of the next Conference

One of the most debated topics during the Conference was the development of the agenda for WRC-19. This item was a huge success for the CEPT as most of the European proposals were included into the next Conference agenda.

The following are some of the important agenda items which will be addressed at the 2019 conference:

WRC-19 will consider identification of frequency bands for the future development of International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT), including possible additional allocations to the mobile service. The approved Resolution focusses on specific frequency bands, as proposed by CEPT, and does not include bands around 6-20 GHz and 27.5-29.5 GHz.

WRC-19 will consider issues related to wireless access systems, including radio local area networks (WAS/RLAN), in the frequency bands between 5 150 MHz and 5 925 MHz to accommodate for possible mitigation techniques if any.

In order to accommodate evolving Global Flight Tracking applications, WRC-15 approved an agenda item for WRC-19 aiming at considering regulatory actions for the development and implementation of the Global Aeronautical Distress and Safety System (GADSS).

WRC-15 also approved an agenda item, proposed by CEPT, for WRC-19 to address spectrum needs for telemetry, tracking and command to accommodate the growing number of satellites with short mission duration.

Stella Lyubchenko, Spectrum Expert, ECO