High Altitude Platform System (HAPS): U.S. Proposal for frequency range 24.25-25.25 GHz

The following is a U.S. contribution to the World Radio-communication Conference (WRC-19) Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, 28 Oct – 22 Nov 2019:

ITU Radio Regulations defines a high-altitude platform station (HAPS) as “a station on an object at an altitude of 20 to 50 km and at a specified, nominal, fixed point relative to the Earth.”

Agenda item 1.14 was adopted by WRC-15 to consider, in accordance with Resolution 160 (WRC-15), regulatory actions that can facilitate deployment of HAPS for broadband applications. Resolution 160 resolves to invite the ITU-R to study additional spectrum needs of HAPS, examining the suitability of existing HAPS designations, and conducting sharing and compatibility studies for additional designations in existing fixed service allocations in the 38‑39.5 GHz band, on a global basis, and in bands already allocated to the fixed service in the 21.4‑22 GHz and 24.25-27.5 GHz bands in Region 2 exclusively.

Advances in aeronautics and transmission technologies have significantly improved the capabilities of HAPS to provide effective connectivity solutions and meet the growing demand for high capacity broadband networks, particularly in currently underserved areas. Recently conducted full-scale test flights have shown that solar-powered platforms in the upper-atmosphere can now be used to carry payloads that offer reliable and cost-effective connectivity, and a growing number of applications for the new generation of HAPS are being developed. The technology appears particularly well suited to complementing terrestrial networks by providing backhaul. A number of advantages of the new generation of HAPS are foreseen:

  • Reach: HAPS platforms may operate at around 20 km above ground, which reduces their vulnerability to weather conditions that may affect service, provides large coverage areas and helps mitigate interference caused by physical obstacles.
  • Geographical reach: HAPS that use the architecture of solar platforms can also provide connectivity where it is impossible to deploy terrestrial infrastructure: remote sites on land or sea.
  • Wide-area coverage: Depending on the operational scenario, a single platform is capable of providing footprints on the order of up to 100 km in diameter, and recent technological advances in the development of optical inter-HAPS links now support the deployment of multiple linked HAPS, in fleets that can provide greater coverage within a country as needed.
  • Low cost and environmental aspects: The cost of operating stratospheric platforms is projected to be lower than other connectivity solutions depending on geographical area, while mass production of the aircraft will significantly lower upfront capital expenditure for deployment. HAPS can run exclusively on solar power for long periods, connecting people with almost no environmental impact.
  • Rapid deployment and flexibility: It may be possible to deploy HAPS services without long lead times and it is relatively simple to return solar platforms to the ground for maintenance or payload reconfiguration.

The ITU-R conducted sharing and compatibility studies to assess coexistence between HAPS and incumbent and proposed systems and services (including issues of overlap with WRC-19 agenda items 1.6 and 1.13). Associated regulatory provisions are proposed below based on the results of sharing studies.

Proposal

For the frequency range 24.25-25.25 GHz in Region 2, the USA proposes “no change” (NOC) to the Radio Regulations, as Resolution 160 (WRC-15) calls for identifications for HAPS in frequency bands already allocated to the fixed service on a primary basis. In Region 2, the bands in this frequency range are not already allocated to the fixed service. No studies have been conducted in the ITU-R to assess the sharing and compatibility of adding a new fixed service allocation to the 24.25-25.25 GHz band in Region 2. As a frequency band cannot be designated for fixed service HAPS use without a fixed service allocation, no change is proposed under agenda item 1.14. This proposal is aligned with Method 4A of the CPM Report to WRC-19.

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Table of Frequency Allocations

Allocation to services
Region 1 Region 2 Region 3
24.25-24.45

FIXED

24.25-24.45

RADIONAVIGATION

24.25-24.45

RADIONAVIGATION

FIXED

MOBILE

24.45-24.65

FIXED

INTER-SATELLITE

24.45-24.65

INTER-SATELLITE

RADIONAVIGATION

24.45-24.65

FIXED

INTER-SATELLITE

MOBILE

RADIONAVIGATION

5.533 5.533
24.65-24.75

FIXED

FIXED-SATELLITE
(Earth-to-space)  5.532B

INTER-SATELLITE

24.65-24.75

INTER-SATELLITE

RADIOLOCATION-
SATELLITE (Earth-to-space)

24.65-24.75

FIXED

FIXED-SATELLITE
(Earth-to-space)  5.532B

INTER-SATELLITE

MOBILE

5.533

Reasons:    Resolution 160 (WRC-15) calls for identifications for HAPS in frequency bands already allocated to the fixed service on a primary basis. In Region 2, for the frequency range 24.25-25.25 GHz, the bands in this frequency range are not allocated to the fixed service.

 

Allocation to services
Region 1 Region 2 Region 3
24.75-25.25

FIXED

FIXED-SATELLITE
(Earth-to-space)  5.532B

24.75-25.25

FIXED-SATELLITE
(Earth-to-space)  5.535

24.75-25.25

FIXED

FIXED-SATELLITE
(Earth-to-space)  5.535

MOBILE

Reasons:    Resolution 160 (WRC-15) calls for identifications for HAPS in frequency bands already allocated to the fixed service on a primary basis. In Region 2, for the frequency range 24.25-25.25 GHz, the bands in this frequency range are not allocated to the fixed service.

GSMA 5G Spectrum Guide vs WRC-19 vs FCC 5G FAST Plan

In a new ‘industry position,’ mobile trade association GSMA states its views on spectrum needed for 5G mobile networks. The GSMA 5G Spectrum Guide executive summary talks about a new generation of wireless tech opening up a bunch of new opportunities, but that won’t be possible unless governments and regulators do a much better job of giving wireless network operators the swathes of spectrum they will need to deliver on the promise of 5G.

“Operators urgently need more spectrum to deliver the endless array of services that 5G will enable – our 5G future depends heavily on the decisions governments are making in the next year as we head into WRC-19,” said Brett Tarnutzer, Head of Spectrum at GSMA.

Editor’s Note:

WRC-19 refers to the World Radiocommunications Conference 2019. It’s a rare opportunity for organizations such as various ITU-R committees and the GSMA to propose spectrum to be used for various worldwide wireless applications. As this author has stated many, many times in numerous techblog posts, WRC-19 will confirm the frequencies to be used by all ITU-R IMT networks, including IMT 2020.

Under the terms of the ITU Constitution, a WRC can:

The next ITU Inter-regional Workshop on WRC-19 Preparation – Geneva, Switzerland, 20-22 November 2018.  Details are here.  The results of the ITU-R ​studies included in the Draft CPM Report to WRC-19 will be presented to the Workshop, as well as the status of regional preparations for CPM19-2, RA-19 and WRC-19.​

This Workshop will provide participants with the opportunity to gain a better understanding of the possible solutions identified to satisfy the WRC-19 agenda items and issues. It will also facilitate the exchange of information on the draft common views, positions and/or proposals of the concerned entities.  The World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 (WRC-19) agenda and relevant WRC resolutions can be downloaded from the WRC-19 web page at: ​www.itu.int/go/wrc-19.
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For the U.S., the FCC WRC-19 advisory committee is chartered under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) to provide to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) public views and recommendations in preparation for the 2019 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-­19).  The FCC is focused on making additional low-, mid-, and high-band spectrum available for 5G services., as stated in the FCC 5G FAST Plan. 

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“Without strong government support to allocate sufficient spectrum to next generation mobile services, it will be impossible to achieve the global scale that will make 5G affordable and accessible for everyone. There is a real opportunity for innovation from 5G, but this hinges on governments focusing on making enough spectrum available, not maximising auction revenues for short term gains.”

GSMA 5G spectrum guide includes:

5G Spectrum Policy Positions (Updated)

The 5G spectrum guide starts with the GSMA’s key policy positions. They focus on areas where governments, regulators and the mobile industry should cooperate to make 5G a success.

Click here to download the updated full position paper in English or French. An updated version in Spanish will arrive shortly.

IMT Spectrum Between 24.25 and 86 GHz (Updated)

WRC-19 will be vital to realising the vision for 5G. The work at WRC-19 (centred around AI 1.13) will look at spectrum for mobile broadband in frequencies between 24.25 and 86 GHz.

Download the updated position paper in English here. There are also updated versions in French and Spanish. They are available here and here.

26 GHz and 28 GHz are both needed for 5G (Updated)

In this infographic we take a look at countries and regions that are trialling and supporting  26 GHz and or 28 GHz. It also details bands plans and use cases.

An updated version of the infographic is available in English here. The new version will shortly arrive in French and Spanish. The old versions are available here and here.

Considerations for the 3.5 GHz IMT range 

Operators need new spectrum to keep up with growing mobile data and coverage demands. The 3.5 GHz IMT range offers an ideal opportunity to meet this demand. The band will be one of the first frequencies to carry 5G traffic, but first it must be licensed.

Download the report in English here,

The 5G era in the US 

This report from GSMA Intelligence explores the current landscape and the future outlook for 5G in the US. It focuses on network deployment, spectrum, use cases, and policy and regulation.

The full report is available here

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“Governments and regulators have a major role to play in ensuring that consumers get the best outcome from 5G,” said GSMA’s Tarnutzer. “Once spectrum is allocated to mobile at WRC, licensing that spectrum at a national level, as history has shown, can take up to 10 years. Therefore, it is essential that governments take the right action now,” he added

That GSMA still feels the need to spell out the importance of radio spectrum to governments and regulators is somewhat astonishing, considering what a redundant and rhetorical issue that should be.  Evidently, GSMA hopes that government regulators will be galvanized to make a strong case for their respective spectrum positions.

Here’s the GSMA’s list of demands for spectrum:

1.  5G needs wider frequency bands to support higher speeds and larger amounts of traffic. Regulators that make available 80-100 MHz of spectrum per operator in prime 5G mid-bands (e.g. 3.5 GHz) and around 1 GHz per operator in vital millimeter wave bands (i.e. above 24 GHz), will best support the very fastest 5G services.

2.  5G needs spectrum within three key frequency ranges to deliver widespread coverage and support all use cases:

  • Sub-1GHz spectrum to extend high-speed 5G mobile broadband coverage across urban, suburban and rural areas and to help support Internet of Things (IoT) services
  • Spectrum from 1-6 GHz to offer a good mix of coverage and capacity for 5G services
  • Spectrum above 6 GHz for 5G services such as ultra-high-speed mobile broadband

3.   It is essential that governments support the 26 GHz, 40 GHz (37-43.5 GHz) and 66-71 GHz bands for mobile at WRC-19. A sufficient amount of harmonised 5G spectrum in these bands is critical to enabling the fastest 5G speeds, low-cost devices and international roaming and to minimising cross-border interference.

4.  Governments and regulators should avoid inflating 5G spectrum prices (e.g. setting high auction reserve prices) as they risk limiting network investment and driving up the cost of services.

5.  Regulators should avoid setting aside spectrum for verticals in key mobile spectrum bands; sharing approaches, such as leasing, are better options where vertical industries require access to spectrum.

References:

https://www.apnews.com/b77934ab658f4ad685d55678a8fe7c59

https://www.gsma.com/spectrum/5g-spectrum-guide/

 

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