ITU report on preparatory studies for the WRC 23 (Nov 20-Dec 15 in Dubai)

ITU Member States have approved a major report on the technical, operational, and regulatory materials for the preparation of the World Radiocommunication Conference 2023 (WRC 23).   The report represents a major step in the preparations for WRC-23 which will be held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates from 20 November to 15 December 2023.
It summarizes and analyses the results of extensive technical studies conducted by members of the ITU Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R), as well as possible solutions to satisfy WRC-23 agenda items. The report was approved at the conclusion of the 2nd session of the Conference Preparatory Meeting (CPM23-2) held from 27 March to 6 April 2023 in Geneva Switzerland.
“The global management of radio frequency spectrum and associated satellite orbits is at the heart of ITU’s strategic goals to achieve universal connectivity and sustainable digital transformation,” said ITU Secretary-General Doreen Bogdan-Martin. “With the uptake of innovative digital services accelerating worldwide, it is critical that we ensure they are secure, reliable, affordable and accessible, especially to the 2.7 billion people around the world who remain offline.”

Among the key issues highlighted during the two-week WRC 23 meeting are:

    • Identification of additional frequency bands for the continued development of International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT), including the use of high-altitude platform stations as IMT base stations for the universal deployment of wireless networks.
    • Improvements to the international regulatory framework for geostationary orbit (GSO) and non-geostationary (NGSO) satellites while promoting equitable access for all countries.
    • Use of satellite technologies for broadband services to improve connectivity, particularly in remote areas.
    • New spectrum to enhance radiocommunications in the aeronautical mobile service, including by satellite, and to facilitate the use of the Space Research and Earth exploration-satellite services for climate monitoring, weather prediction and other scientific missions.
    • The modernization of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS).
    • Regulatory framework for the use of earth stations in motion on board aircraft and ships for communication with geostationary orbit (GSO) and non-geostationary (NGSO) satellites.
    • The future of the ultra-high frequency (UHF) broadcasting band which has implications for television broadcast, programme-making and special events, as well as public protection and disaster relief.

Over 1,900 participants from 125 ITU Member States attended CPM23-2. Also in attendance were representatives from ITU Radiocommunication Sector Members as well as delegates from various United Nations agencies and international organizations.

“The discussions and consensus achieved during CPM23-2 will pave the way to a successful world radiocommunication conference,” said Mario Maniewicz, Director of the ITU Radiocommunication Bureau. “The outcomes of WRC-23 will have a tremendous impact on the development of innovative, futuristic radiocommunication services that enable secure, faster, and seamless global communications for all.”

“I am delighted that we have finalized this significant milestone in the preparations for WRC-23 despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic from the start of the preparatory process,” said Cindy-Lee Cook, Chairperson of the Conference Preparatory Meeting for WRC-23. “During the four-year study period, we experienced first-hand how essential digital connectivity is. This highlights the importance of the work we do to find new and innovative ways to provide broadband connectivity using terrestrial and space-based communication technologies.”

World radiocommunication conferences, held every three to four years, review and revise the ITU Radio Regulations, the international treaty governing the use of the radio-frequency spectrum, including satellite orbits.

WRC-23 will be preceded by the Radiocommunication Assembly (RA-23) from 13 -17 November 2023. The RA is responsible for the structure, program and approval of radiocommunication studies.

Image Credit:  GSMA

Editor’s Note:

There’s a huge unresolved open issue from WRC 19: updating ITU-R recommendation M.1036 Frequency Arrangements for IMT to include the new 5G  mmWave frequencies specified by WRC 19.  At the conclusion of the last ITU-R WP 5D meeting in February, the WG on Spectrum Aspects and WRC 23 Preparations, could not agree on the revision of Recommendation ITU-R M.1036. It was not possible to resolve two remaining open issues and therefore, it was not possible to complete the revision at this WP 5D meeting.  Further work will be required at the next WP 5D in June with the aim of completing the revision for submission to ITU-R Study Group 5 for approval in November.


GSMA vision for more mobile spectrum in advance of WRC 23 this November

WRC 19 Report: IMT in the frequency bands 24.25-27.5GHz & 45.5-47GHz

WRC-23: International regulation of satellite services

WRC-23: A Decisive Year for 5G Spectrum Allocation


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.


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).
  • 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.

Addendum:  World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 (WRC-19) Provisional Final Acts



WRC-19 identifies additional frequency bands for 5G

WRC 19 Report: IMT in the frequency bands 24.25-27.5GHz & 45.5-47GHz

WRC 19 agenda item AI-1.13 concerns the frequencies to be used by International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT), especially IMT 2020 (aka as standardized 5G).

1.13            To consider identification of frequency bands for the future development of International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT), including possible additional allocations to the mobile service on a primary basis, in accordance with Resolution 238 (WRC-15);


In a backgrounder paper, ITU states:

The implications of 5G for spectrum allocation, management and sharing are immense. ITU is working towards providing stable international regulations, sufficient spectrum and suitable standards for IMT2020 and the core network to enable successful 5G deployments at the regional and international levels.

Over the weekend, a WRC 19 drafting group generated two related documents, each dated November 17, 2019.  The editor/chair for this activity is Michael Kraemer of Intel- Dusseldorf, Germany.

1. DRAFT NEW RESOLUTION [COM4/X] (WRC‑19): Terrestrial component of International Mobile Telecommunications in the frequency band 24.25-27.5 GHz

  • Frequency options for 24.25-27.5GHz:

A number of different options were proposed for an IMT identification of the 24.25‑27.5 GHz frequency band with various different conditions. The text below for conditions A2b through A2g is a possible global compromise as middle ground between these proposals for further consideration.

[Editor’s note: The mobile except aeronautical mobile allocation is not supported by some participants and the option of a “full” mobile allocation is still under discussion]


Frequency allocations

Section IV – Table of Frequency Allocations
(See No. 2.1)

MOD         AHG113/447/1#75679

22-24.75 GHz

Allocation to services
Region 1 Region 2 Region 3


MOBILE [except aeronautical mobile]  ADD 5.A113  MOD 5.338A


MOBILE [except aeronautical mobile]  ADD 5.A113  MOD 5.338A




MOBILE  ADD 5.A113  MOD 5.338A





MOBILE [except aeronautical mobile]  ADD 5.A113  MOD 5.338A



MOBILE [except aeronautical mobile]  ADD 5.A113  MOD 5.338A





MOBILE  ADD 5.A113  MOD 5.338A


5.533 5.533


(Earth-to-space)  5.532B


MOBILE [except aeronautical mobile]  ADD 5.A113  MOD 5.338A



MOBILE [except aeronautical mobile]  ADD 5.A113  MOD 5.338A

SATELLITE (Earth-to-space)



(Earth-to-space)  5.532B


MOBILE  ADD 5.A113  MOD 5.338A



MOD         AHG113/447/2#75680

24.75-29.9 GHz

Allocation to services
Region 1 Region 2 Region 3


(Earth-to-space)  5.532B

MOBILE [except aeronautical mobile]  ADD 5.A113  MOD 5.338A


(Earth-to-space)  5.535

MOBILE [except aeronautical mobile]  ADD 5.A113  MOD 5.338A



(Earth-to-space)  5.535

MOBILE  ADD 5.A113  MOD 5.338A

25.25-25.5                                              FIXED


MOBILE  ADD 5.A113  MOD 5.338A

Standard frequency and time signal-satellite (Earth-to-space)

25.5-27                                                    EARTH EXPLORATION-SATELLITE (space-to Earth)  MOD 5.536B



MOBILE  ADD 5.A113  MOD 5.338A

SPACE  RESEARCH (space-to-Earth)  5.536C

Standard frequency and time signal-satellite (Earth-to-space)

MOD 5.536A




MOBILE  ADD 5.A113  MOD 5.338A



FIXED-SATELLITE (Earth-to-space)

INTER-SATELLITE  5.536  5.537

MOBILE  ADD 5.A113  MOD 5.338A

The frequency band 24.25-27.5 GHz is identified for use by administrations wishing to implement the terrestrial component of International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT). This identification does not preclude the use of this frequency band by any application of the services to which it is allocated and does not establish priority in the Radio Regulations.


2. DRAFT NEW RESOLUTION [COM4/x] (WRC‑19): International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) in the frequency band 45.5-47 GHz

This draft resolution suggests sharing between IMT and MSS (Earth-to-space and space-to-Earth) in the frequency band 45.5-47 GHz.  That spectrum is MUCH HIGHER then the mmWave frequencies previously considered for IMT 2020.


The World Radiocommunication Conference (Sharm el-Sheikh, 2019), considering:

  1. a) that International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT), including IMT-2000, IMT‑Advanced and IMT-2020, is intended to provide telecommunication services on a worldwide scale, regardless of location and type of network or terminal;
  2. b) that the evolution of IMT is being studied within ITU‑R;
  3. c) that adequate and timely availability of spectrum and supporting regulatory provisions is essential to realize the objectives in Recommendation ITU‑R M.2083;
  4. d) that there is a need to continually take advantage of technological developments in order to increase the efficient use of spectrum and facilitate spectrum access;
  5. e) that IMT systems are now being evolved to provide diverse usage scenarios and applications such as enhanced mobile broadband, massive machine-type communications and ultra-reliable and low-latency communications;
  6. f) that ultra-low latency and very high bit-rate applications of IMT will require larger contiguous blocks of spectrum than those available in frequency bands that are currently identified for use by administrations wishing to implement IMT;
  7. g) that the properties of higher frequency bands, such as shorter wavelength, would better enable the use of advanced antenna systems including MIMO and beam-forming techniques in supporting enhanced broadband;
  8. h) that harmonized worldwide bands for IMT are desirable in order to achieve global roaming and the benefits of economies of scale;

[i)                that studies in preparation for WRC‑19 have indicated that sharing between IMT and MSS (Earth-to-space and space-to-Earth) in the frequency band 45.5-47 GHz is feasible,]

noting:  Recommendation ITU‑R M.2083 “IMT Vision –Framework and overall objectives of the future development of IMT for 2020 and beyond”,

recognizing:  that the identification of a frequency band for IMT does not establish priority in the Radio Regulations and does not preclude the use of the frequency band by any application of the services to which it is allocated,

resolves: [Note: align the conditions in resolves part with the relevant conditions from new Resolution(s) on 40.5-43.5 GHz and/or 66-71 GHz frequency band(s).]

1.                that administrations wishing to implement IMT consider the use of frequency band 45.5-47 GHz, identified for IMT in No. 5.F113 and the benefits of harmonized utilization of the spectrum for the terrestrial component of IMT taking into account the latest relevant ITU‑R Recommendation;]

2.                that, when deploying outdoor base stations in the frequency band 45.5-47 GHz, identified for IMT in No. 5.F113, all potential measures shall be taken to keep the electrical tilt of IMT base stations beams to be not higher than 0 degrees relative to horizontal and the mechanical tilt of IMT base stations be below −10 degrees relative to the horizon;

3.                 that the IMT base stations antenna pattern should be kept within the limits of approximation envelope according to Recommendation ITU‑R M.2101;

4.                 that the IMT base stations shall comply with the limits given in Tables 1 and 2:

Table 1

TRP1 limits for IMT base stations

Frequency bands dB(W/200 MHz)
45.5‑47 GHz −4
1     The total radiated power (TRP) is to be understood here as the integral of the power transmitted from all antenna elements in different directions over the entire radiation sphere.

Table 2

e.i.r.p. [1.] limits for IMT base stations

Elevation angle Maximum e.i.r.p. dB(W/200 MHz)
5 ≤ θ ≤ 15 17 − 1.3(θ − 5)
15 < θ ≤ 25 4
25 < θ ≤ 55 4 − 0.43(θ − 25)
55 < θ ≤ 90 −8.9

Equivalent Isotropically Radiated Power (EIRP) is the product of transmitter power and the antenna gain in a given direction relative to an isotropic antenna of a radio transmitter. Normally the EIRP is given in dBi, or decibels over isotropic.


ITU‑R is invited:

1                to develop harmonized frequency arrangements to facilitate IMT deployment in the frequency band 45.5-47 GHz;]

2                 to continue providing guidance to ensure that IMT can meet the telecommunication needs of the developing countries in the context of the studies referred to above.



Preview of WRC‑19: Enabling Global Radiocommunications via Radio Frequency Spectrum and Satellite Orbit Resources

GSMA: 5G mmWave activities at WRC 19



GSMA: 5G mmWave activities at WRC 19

The GSMA, which lobbies on behalf of the mobile industry, is bracing itself for a battle with Europe over the use of millimeter-wave (mmWave) spectrum for 5G services. The group is anticipating a potential clash at this week’s World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC 19) in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt over the use of mmWave, which some European authorities argue interferes with “space services” such as satellite-based weather-sensing.

Brett Tarnutzer, head of spectrum at the GSMA, wrote: “We are calling for Europe to join the US in taking a pro-5G stance at WRC-19 to protect its digital future. Some administrations are still determined to limit mobile use of airwaves that 5G requires to reach its full potential. This protectionist attitude will have consequences for our global economy if allowed to prevail.”

WRC-19 and Agenda Item 1.13 presents the opportunity to identify mmWave spectrum in the 26, 40, 50 and 66 GHz bands. By doing so, the conference can lay the essential foundation for a bright 5G future. These bands enable key capabilities of 5G such as ultra-high capacity and ultra-high speed services.

It is also important the bands come with reasonable conditions. Unfortunately, it is possible to identify a band for IMT on paper, but effectively render it unusable in practice. Where conditions are necessary to protect other services, they should be applied. Where conditions have been found by the technical studies to be unnecessary, it will be harmful to 5G deployment to impose them without reason.

On October 31 at WRC-19, GSMA welcomed delegates from Arab Spectrum Management Group (ASMG) to a lunchtime seminar to discuss Agenda Item 1.13 with a focus on mmWave spectrum for the future of 5G.

“The Arab Spectrum Management Group has already positioned itself as a 5G leader. And its full support for the identification of mmWave spectrum at WRC-19 will help it build on that momentum.” said GSMA Director General Mats Granryd.

Speakers from Nokia, TMG and the GSMA, and Director General Mats Granryd, talked about how the right conditions for mmWave spectrum at WRC-19 can change how connectivity drives the Arab region forward.

At the seminar, the GSMA also presented findings from its recently published report on mmWave Use Cases, and the impact they will have on all aspects of society. GSMA believes the performance benefits of mmWave, including ultra-high speeds and low latencies, will drive the revolutionary impact of the most advanced 5G services. Use cases such as expanded broadband access and advanced healthcare stand to profit greatly from access to mmWave spectrum.  [No mention was made of mmWave’s need for the line of sight, short distance/reach, or need for many small cells.]

The Middle East and North Africa are expected to deliver $15.4 billion in GDP from mmWave 5G by 2034. But economic impact, along with all the underlying use cases that make it possible, is only possible if mmWave spectrum is identified for IMT with reasonable conditions.

The mobile industry is asking for the IMT (ITU acronym for International Mobile Telecomunications) identification of:
• 26 GHz (24.25-27.5 GHz);
• 40 GHz (37-43.5 GHz);
• 50 GHz (45.5-52.6 GHz); and
• 66 GHz (66-71 GHz).

The presentation from the seminar is available here.  A few highlights follow:

Various applications and services require access to spectrum from low, mid, and high bands:

  1. High band: Extreme capacity, e.g. 2.3, 2.6, 3.3–4.2, 4.4-5 GHz etc.
    80-100 MHz MNO contiguous 2020 onwards
  2. Mid band: Both coverage & capacity, e.g. 24.25-29.5, 37-43.5 GHz etc
    800-1000 MHz MNO/Network contiguous 2020 onwards
  3. Low band: Extended coverage, e.g. 600, 700 MHz etc
    Up to 20 MHz channel bandwidth; 2020 onwards

5G is expected to contribute $2.2 trillion to global GDP (by 2034)

In a report written by TMG, 5G mmWave services are said to realize $565 billion in global GDP and $152 billion in tax revenue over a 15-year period, from 2020 to 2034. By the end of this period,That equals 25 per cent of the value created by 5G. The report also breaks down the impact on a regional level.

A second TMG report, looks at the impact of mmWave spectrum  on economies in Sub-Saharan Africa, South and South East Asia and the Pacific Islands, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the RCC region. It reveals how the benefits on mmWave 5G will be felt across industries and explores exciting new 5G use cases, including healthcare, industrial automation, education and connectivity.  None of these use cases will reach their full potential without access to mmWaves.

Case Studies (with illustrations): Extractive Industries, Connectivity, Smart transportation logistics hubs


ITU Comment on mmWave 5G:

Tremendous study and discussion have already been put into WRC‑19 agenda item 1.13. The specially created Task Group 5/1 met extensively between May 2016 and August 2018, taking an exhaustive look at mmWave frequencies (bands including 26 GHz, 40 GHz, 50 GHz and 66 GHz).

The sharing and compatibility studies showed that, while some services need protection measures, scenarios with many services show positive margins that don’t require additional measures.

The development of the Radio Regulations at WRC follows a simple rule: where existing services need protecting, measures will be put in place; where sharing is feasible, no action is required at WRC.

The performance benefits of mmWave 5G, including ultra-high speeds and low lag, will drive revolutionary new applications across many sectors around the globe. This holds the potential to create an intelligently connected world and enable a new, unprecedented era of industrial connectivity. It can facilitate enhanced services and help nations address our most pressing global concerns: climate change, enhanced economic growth, and fairer societies.

Whether it is a school that wants to educate more students; a city that wants to improve air quality or a company that wants to improve worker safety, 5G can build on the success of mobile networks in ways that matter to everyone. 5G stands to provide amazing improvement to health care, especially in poorer, rural areas.

5G’s future hangs in the balance at WRC-19


References for GSMA at WRC-19:

The GSMA WRC series – getting the most out of WRC-19

WRC-19: ASMG lunchtime seminar on mmWave spectrum for 5G

mmWave 5G success sets the stage for big benefits

5G mmWave: Facts and fictions you should definitely know


Preview of WRC‑19: Enabling Global Radiocommunications via Radio Frequency Spectrum and Satellite Orbit Resources

By Mario Maniewicz, Director of the ITU Radiocommunication Bureau

The ITU’s upcoming World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 (WRC‑19) will play a key role in shaping the technical and regulatory framework  for the provision of radiocommunication services in all countries, in space, air, at sea and on land. It will help accelerate progress towards meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It will provide a solid foundation to support a variety of emerging technologies that are set to revolutionize the digital economy, including the use of artificial intelligence, big data, the Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud services.

“The World Radiocommunication Conference, which opened today (October 28th), 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 SDGs.”

Every three to four years the conference revises the Radio Regulations (RR), the only international treaty governing the use of the radio-frequency spectrum and satellite orbit resources. The treaty’s provisions regulate the use of telecommunication services and, where necessary, also regulate new applications of radiocommunication technologies.

The aim of the regulation is to facilitate equitable access and rational use of the limited natural resources of the radio-frequency spectrum and the satellite orbits, and to enable the efficient and effective operation of all radio communication services.

WRC‑19 will be held in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, from 28 October to 22 November 2019 and its agenda covers a wide range of radio- communication services (see examples at the end of this article).

The preparations for the conference include studies and discussions that take place in the ITU–R Study Groups, the Conference Preparatory Meeting, the ITU inter-regional workshops, and also within the regional groups. The very nature of the process and study cycle helps build consensus and facilitates the work of the conference, where final decisions are made. See the infographic for more information on the preparatory process.

Each World Radiocommunication Conference affects the future development of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in many ways, including:

    • Introducing and expanding access to the radio spectrum for new radiocommunication systems and applications;
    • Protecting the operation of existing radiocommunication services and providing the stable and predictable regulatory
      environment needed for future investments;
    • Avoiding the potential for harmful interference between radio services;
    • Allowing the provision of high-quality radiocommunications while protecting vital uses of the radio spectrum, particularly for distress and safety communications; and
    • Facilitating international roaming and increasing economies of scale, thereby making it possible for network and user
      devices to be more affordable.

Image result for image for WRC 19

2nd ITU Inter-regional Workshop on WRC-19 Preparation


Times of transformation:

Currently, billions of people, businesses, and devices are connected to the Internet. ICTs are transforming each and every aspect of our lives, from the way people interact and communicate to the way companies do business.

People expect instantaneous high-quality connectivity, whether stationary or on-the-move, in their homes or outside in a crowd.

Companies search for new ways to increase their business and operational efficiency, whether by monitoring the condition of equipment and conducting predictive maintenance, or by monitoring customer data to offer personalized solutions. The increasing need for a new underlying ecosystem will be made possible by utilizing a variety of complementary terrestrial and satellite technologies/services.

The fifth generation of mobile technology, International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) 2020 (5G) promises to enhance the connectivity infrastructure that delivers high-speed networks to end users, carries the flow of information from billions of users and IoT devices, and enables a whole array of services to different industry verticals. Spectrum for 5G services will be one of the main topics of WRC‑19. More specifically, new allocations will be considered for the mobile service and identification for IMT of frequencies in the mm Wave bands (above 24 GHz).

In addition, satellite services aim at increasing connectivity, whether by providing access to broadband communications to unserved rural communities, or to passengers on aircrafts, on ships and on land, or by expanding backhaul of terrestrial networks.

WRC‑19 will address fixed and mobile satellite services, earth stations in motion, and will revise the assignment procedures pertaining to satellite networks.

Leveraging the economic opportunities brought by technology should be possible not only for some, but for all. One target of SDG No. 9 is to increase access to ICTs and strive to provide universal and affordable access to the Internet in least-developed countries by 2020.

Fortunately, new technological innovations support this goal. They aim at expanding broadband connectivity and telecommunication services to least-developed countries, underserved communities, rural and remote areas, including mountainous, coastal and desert areas.

Towards this end, WRC‑19 will consider spectrum for High-Altitude Platform Systems (HAPS) and will revise the regulatory framework for Non-Geostationary Satellite Systems (non-GSO). HAPS, operating in the stratosphere, can be used to provide fixed broadband connectivity for end users, and backhaul for mobile networks, thus increasing the coverage of these networks.

Constellations of non-GSO satellites aim at improving quality, increasing the capacity and reducing the costs of satellite services, which should enable satellite operators to bring market solutions that increase access to connectivity.

Times of uncertainty

These are times of transformation, but also of uncertainty. The number of natural disasters have increased considerably in the last decades: hurricanes, earthquakes, storms, floods, and fires. Climate change is a reality: we are experiencing heatwaves, and observing long-lasting glaciers melt.

Taking this into account, SDG No. 13 on climate action targets to strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries. To reach this target, several radiocommunication services offer the solution required to monitor, mitigate and adapt to these events.

Satellite communications, and in particular space sensing and Earth observation systems are used to monitor the state of the oceans and the conservation of forests. They can detect natural disturbances in the state of the atmosphere and provide accurate climate predictions.

Radiocommunication services are a crucial accelerator towards the achievement of all the SDGs in both developed and developing countries.

Other radiocommunication systems are also used to collect and transmit data related to weather conditions (humidity, rainfall rates etc.), for example IoT systems and radars. These sources of information form the critical mass needed to detect climate-related hazards.

Broadcasting and broadband services provide early warning to the population which reduces the impact of natural and environmental disasters by strengthening the resilience and increasing adaptive capacity.

Amateur radiocommunication services, among others, assist relief operations especially when other services are still not operational. More recently, HAPS have also been deployed to rapidly deliver services with minimal ground network infrastructure in disaster-relief missions.

WRC‑19’s decisions will affect services of utmost importance in these times of transformation and uncertainty. They will allow us to harness the power of ICTs to overcome the challenges and seize the opportunities of today’s digital economy.


Radiocommunication services are deeply transforming the health, education, and transportation sectors. They are improving financial inclusion, increasing transparency and supporting accountable institutions, promoting sustainable agriculture, helping to preserve life in the air, at sea and on land. They are a crucial accelerator towards the achievement of all the SDGs in both developed and developing countries.

The four year preparation cycle leading to the WRC, the high-level of commitment of participants from governments and industry, done through arduous work and extensive international negotiations, both in the preparatory pro‑ cess and during the WRC‑19, will culminate in the signing of the WRC‑19 Final Acts and revising the Radio Regulations — the invaluable international treaty that is the foundation for rational, efficient and economical use of the radio-frequency spectrum, enabling radiocommunication technology developments since the start of radiocommunications, 113 years ago.



WRCs review the way radio spectrum is organized around the world, bringing together governments to negotiate and agree on the relevant modifications to the RR and commit to them. The preparatory process of WRCs involves extensive studies and preparatory discussions among all stakeholders (equipment makers, network operators, industry forums and users of spectrum) at national, regional and worldwide levels. Many of these stakeholders also serve as members of national delegations at the conference itself. This multi-stakeholder approach enables the necessary consensus to be built to ensure that WRCs maintain a stable, predictable and universally applied regulatory environment which secures long-term investments for a multi-trillion dollar industry.

The four-week program of a WRC includes the review and update of the global technical, operational and regulatory provisions that govern the use of the radio-frequency spectrum for terrestrial and satellite applications. In conducting its activities, the conference attempts to cast a proper balance: