WRC 19 Wrap-up: Additional spectrum allocations agreed for IMT-2020 (5G mobile)

The World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 (WRC-19) concluded today as agreements signed by some 3,400 delegates from around 165 Member States were enshrined in the Final Acts of the Radio Regulations, the international treaty governing the global use of radio-frequency spectrum and satellite orbits.

WRC-19 identified additional globally harmonized (millimetre wave) frequency bands for International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT), including IMT-2020 (otherwise known as 5G mobile), facilitating diverse usage scenarios for enhanced mobile broadband, massive machine-type communications and ultra-reliable and low-latency communications. This will hopefully unlock a host of applications facilitating Intelligent Transport Systems, creating smart cities and making communities more sustainable while allowing for effective climate action, improved health care, sustainable agricultural practices, and greater energy efficiency.

New Resolutions approved at WRC-19 noted that ultra-low latency (pending 3GPP Release 16) and very high bit-rate applications of IMT 2020 will require larger contiguous blocks of spectrum than those available in frequency bands that had previously been identified for use by administrations wishing to implement IMT. They also pointed that harmonized worldwide bands for IMT are desirable in order to facilitate global roaming and the benefits of economies of scale.

Additional bands identified to enable standardized 5G (IMT 2020) deployment:

While identifying the frequency bands 24.25-27.5 GHz, 37-43.5 GHz, 45.5-47 GHz, 47.2-48.2 and 66-71 GHz for the deployment of 5G networks, WRC-19 also took measures to ensure an appropriate protection of the Earth Exploration Satellite Services, including meteorological and other passive services in adjacent bands.

In total, 17.25 GHz of spectrum has been identified for IMT by the Conference, in comparison with 1.9 GHz of bandwidth available before WRC-19. Out of this number, 14.75 GHz of spectrum has been harmonized worldwide, reaching 85% of global harmonization.

In addition, WRC-19 has also defined a plan of studies to identify frequencies for new components of 5G. As an example, to facilitate mobile connectivity by High Altitude IMT Base Stations (HIBS). HIBS may be used as a part of terrestrial IMT networks to provide mobile connectivity in underserved areas where it is difficult to be covered by ground-based IMT base stations at a reasonable cost.

IMT-2020, the name used in ITU for the standards of 5G, is expected to continue to be developed from 2020 onwards, with 5G trials and commercial activities already underway to assist in evaluating the candidate technologies and frequency bands that may be used for this purpose.

The first full-scale commercial deployments for 5G are expected sometime after IMT-2020 specifications are in force.

ITU will continue to work towards providing stable international regulations, sufficient spectrum and suitable standards for IMT-2020 and the core network to enable successful 5G deployments at the regional and international levels.

Next steps:

An overall presentation of WRC-19 results is still under preparation, but it is already evident that ITU is facilitating the development of 5G around the world.

In parallel, the ITU group responsible for IMT-2020 or 5G is continuing the evaluation of the proposed technologies that will allow network operators to offer 5G performances to their users for the next decade.

This evaluation will be completed in early February 2020 and will be followed by the finalization of the IMT-2020 standards.

ITU will make sure that the standards supporting all 5G applications will be in place in 2020 for the benefit of the entire telecommunication community.

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Separately at WRC 19, protections were accorded to the Earth-exploration satellite service (EESS) as well as meteorological and other passive services in adjacent bands, such as the space research service (SRS) to ensure that space-based monitoring of the earth and its atmosphere remain unhindered. Satellite services supporting meteorology and climatology that aim to safeguard human life and natural resources will be protected from harmful radio-frequency interference, as will systems used by radio astronomers for deep space exploration.

Steps were also taken to ensure that radio astronomy stations would be protected from any harmful radio interference from other space stations or satellite systems in orbit.
“WRC-19 paves the way for new, more innovative ways to connect the world using both terrestrial and space-based communication technologies,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “As leading edge broadband technology manifests itself in new industrial developments, people in the remotest areas will also get better and more affordable access.
“The hard won agreements at WRC-19 will favourably impact the lives of billions of people around the world, creating a digital landscape for sustainable growth and development,” said Mr Mario Maniewicz, Director of the ITU Radiocommunication Bureau. “The achievements of WRC-19 in enabling new communication technologies and the protection of existing services will be reflected in the continuous growth of the trillion dollar telecommunication and ICT industry.”
The deliberations at WRC-19 were steered by conference Chairman Amr Badawi with assistance from six Vice-Chairmen: Mr Kyu Jin Wee (Republic of Korea), Mr Tareq Al Awadhi (United Arab Emirates), Mr Peter Zimri (South Africa), Mr Alexander Kühn (Germany), Ms Grace Koh (United States) and Mr Sergey Pastukh (Russian Federation).
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KEY OUTCOMES OF WRC-19:
  • Additional bands for IMT identified in the 24.25-27.5 GHz, 37-43.5 GHz, 45.5-47 GHz, 47.2-48.2 and 66-71 GHz bands, facilitating development of fifth generation (5G) mobile networks.
  • Earth exploration-satellite (EESS) service – Protection accorded to EESS with the possibility of providing worldwide primary allocation in the frequency band 22.55-23.15 GHz in order to allow its use for satellite tracking, telemetry and control.
  • Non-Geostationary Satellites – Regulatory procedures established for non-geostationary satellite constellations in the fixed-satellite service, opening the skies to next-generation communication capabilities. Mega-constellations of satellites consisting of hundreds to thousands of spacecraft in low-Earth orbit are becoming a popular solution for global telecommunications, as well as remote sensing, space and upper atmosphere research, meteorology, astronomy, technology demonstration and education.
  • Regulatory changes introduced to facilitate rational, efficient and economical use of radio frequencies and associated orbits, including the geostationary-satellite orbit.
  • High-altitude platform stations (HAPS) – Additional frequency bands Identified for High Altitude Platform Systems – radios on aerial platforms hovering in the stratosphere – to facilitate telecommunications within a wide coverage area below for affordable broadband access in rural and remote areas.
  • WiFi networks – Regulatory provisions revised to accommodate both indoor and outdoor usage and the growth in demand for wireless access systems, including RLANs for end-user radio connections to public or private core networks, such as WiFi, while limiting their interference into existing satellite services.
  • Railway radiocommunication systems between train and trackside (RSTT) – Resolution approved on Railway radiocommunication systems to facilitate the deployment of railway train and trackside systems to meet the needs of a high-speed railway environment in particular for train radio applications for improved railway traffic control, passenger safety and security for train operations.
  • Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) – ITU Recommendation (standard) approved to integrate ICTs in evolving Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) to connect vehicles, improve traffic management and assist in safer driving.
  • Broadcasting-satellite service (BSS) – Protection of frequency assignments, providing a priority mechanism for developing countries to regain access to spectrum orbit resources.
  • Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) – Expanded coverage and enhanced capabilities for GMDSS.

 

References:

WRC-19 identifies additional frequency bands for 5G

https://www.itu.int/en/newsroom/wrc-19/Pages/default.aspx

https://www.itu.int/en/mediacentre/Pages/2019-PR24.aspx

4 thoughts on “WRC 19 Wrap-up: Additional spectrum allocations agreed for IMT-2020 (5G mobile)

  1. Innovative 5G services that rely on the almost instantaneous delivery of large amounts of data are now possible through the identification of millimetre wave frequencies in the 26 GHz, 40 GHz and 66 GHz ranges. These include virtual and augmented reality applications, remote control of industrial robots, autonomous vehicles, as well as entertainment services, such as downloading 4K movies in seconds.

    International coordination supported by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) at WRCs is essential to achieving widespread spectrum harmonisation for mobile services. The global identification of mmWave frequencies will help unlock economies of scale needed to accelerate the delivery of innovative and affordable 5G services around the world. A wide range of industries – including manufacturing, transport, healthcare and education – are set to benefit.

    “WRC-19 has brought the mobile industry a step closer to making the full power of 5G something everyone can experience,” said Mats Granryd, Director General, GSMA. “Countries struck the right balance in opening up groundbreaking possibilities for 5G while protecting existing radio services worldwide. The mobile industry’s goal going into WRC-19 was to identify enough 5G spectrum to deliver long-lasting socio-economic benefits. WRC-19 delivered on this goal, and also secured a pathway to 5G’s future success in the agenda for WRC-23.”

    As mobile continues to evolve, so do the spectrum requirements. WRC-19 recognised this by setting an agenda for the next WRC in 2023 that will consider identification of additional mid- and low-frequency bands.

    Mid-frequency spectrum in the 3 GHz range (from 3.3-4.2 GHz) is already being used for commercial 5G services, providing a good balance of coverage and capacity. Increasing the amount of globally harmonised spectrum in this frequency range at WRC-23 would boost 5G network performance, bring down deployment costs and drive significant economic benefits.

    To help spread the benefits of 5G to rural areas and accelerate the Internet of Things (IoT) revolution, the GSMA is also supporting efforts to identify more spectrum below 1 GHz at WRC-23 to improve 5G coverage.

    “We want the benefits of 5G to be available to everyone. With more than 5 billion mobile subscribers globally, previous generations of mobile technology have connected more people more quickly than any technology in history,” added Mats Granryd. “WRC plays an essential role in driving the global economies of scale that allow mobile services to transform people’s lives and national economies.”

    https://www.gsma.com/newsroom/press-release/gsma-wrc-19-opens-door-to-exciting-new-5g-services/

  2. In total, 17.25 GHz of spectrum was identified for IMT (the generic term used by the ITU community to designate broadband mobile systems) by the Conference, in comparison with 1.9 GHz of bandwidth available before WRC-19. Out of this number, 14.75 GHz of spectrum has been harmonized worldwide, reaching 85 percent of global harmonization.

    In addition, WRC-19 has also defined a plan of studies to identify frequencies for new components of 5G.

    https://www.developingtelecoms.com/telecom-business/telecom-regulation/8969-more-5g-bands-identified-at-wrc-19.html

  3. Negotiators from around the world announced a deal Friday at a meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, for how to roll out 5G technology that operates using specific radio frequency bands.

    Studies completed before the negotiations by U.S. government agencies such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA and the Navy had warned that 5G equipment operating in the 24-gigahertz frequency band could interfere with transmissions from polar-orbiting satellites used to gather weather data. This could make forecasts much less reliable, the reports found.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2019/11/22/global-g-deal-poses-significant-threat-weather-forecast-accuracy-experts-warn/

  4. Negotiators from around the world announced a deal Friday at a meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, for how to roll out 5G technology that operates using specific radio frequency bands.

    Studies completed before the negotiations by U.S. government agencies such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA and Specifically, these highly technical analyses concluded that if deployed widely and without adequate constraints, telecommunications equipment operating in the 24 GHz frequency band would bleed into the frequencies that NOAA and NASA satellite sensors also use to sense the presence and properties of water vapor in the atmosphere, significantly interfering with the collection and transmission of critical weather data.

    The NOAA report, for example, warned of a potential loss of 77.4 percent of data coming from microwave sounders mounted on the agency’s polar-orbiting satellites.

    The agency’s microwave sounders operate at a frequency of 23.6 to 24 GHz, which is close to the frequency that the Federal Communications Commission auctioned off the use of for about $2 billion beginning this past March.

    The key concerns about 5G interference focus on what are known as baseline interference limits, often referred to as out-of-band emission limits. Navy had warned that 5G equipment operating in the 24-gigahertz frequency band could interfere with transmissions from polar-orbiting satellites used to gather weather data. This could make forecasts much less reliable, the reports found.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2019/11/22/global-g-deal-poses-significant-threat-weather-forecast-accuracy-experts-warn/

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