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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.