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April 19th 1999

UMTS FORUM WELCOMES ITU DECISION ON 3G SPECTRUM - Decision in line with UMTS Forum forecasts to satisfy global demands for the Wireless Information Society
April 19th 1999: - Cross-industry group The UMTS Forum has welcomed recent agreement within an ITU Task Group to identify additional spectrum requirements for IMT-2000 ”third generation” (3G) mobile telecommunications systems. The UMTS Forum also encourages the ITU to continue its efforts to identify the globally harmonised frequency bands that will provide additional spectrum to support IMT-2000 services.

At last month’s meeting of the International Telecommunications Union’s Task Group 8/1 in Fortaleza, Brazil (March 08-19), ITU member countries reached consensus on a worldwide additional terrestrial spectrum requirement of 160MHz to support these services.

Member states administrations from the European regulatory body CEPT are proposing to identify the frequency band 2520 - 2670 MHz as a global extension band for the terrestrial IMT-2000 component.

At the recent CEPT Conference in Venice, Italy (March 24-26), the UMTS Forum underlined the importance of CEPT’s role in these discussions on future spectrum requirements for IMT-2000. At the conference, the UMTS Forum published its own report titled Candidate Extension Bands for UMTS/IMT-2000 Terrestrial Component*, highlighting the need for further spectrum to be liberated in the years beyond 2005 to accommodate high-speed services such as Internet access for mobile users. Speaking at the CEPT conference, UMTS Forum Chairman Dr Bernd Eylert anticipated further milestone decisions that will be made at next year’s World Radio Conference (WRC2000):

”WRC2000 will deal with additional terrestrial spectrum requirements for UMTS under its agenda item 1.6.1. The entire mobile industry is waiting for a positive decision on additional worldwide harmonised bands - to the benefit of socio-economic development across the globe, including developing regions where it will play a vital role.”

Comprehensive analysis conducted by the UMTS Forum has already estimated the desired spectrum resources for mobile multimedia operators who will be opening new networks offering Wireless Information Services within the next three years. This work by the Forum points to a minimum of 2x15MHz paired plus a further 5MHz unpaired spectrum per terrestrial operator as being required to initially launch and operate mobile multimedia services up to 2005. According to market forecasts by the UMTS Forum, additional spectrum will then be required to support a projected global market of 1.7billion mobile users by the years 2010.

Commenting on the possibility that some ITU member countries may plan to award as many as five UMTS licenses, Dr Eylert warned that such moves are likely to seriously jeopardise the future success of the whole mobile multimedia communications industry:

”Restricting the amount of available spectrum per operator by awarding too many licences places serious limitations on any operator’s ability to create a viable market for 3G information services. You can’t just subdivide spectrum into little pieces and expect a flourishing business - this will lead to fragmentation and difficulties for the market as a whole.

”There are only two realistic solutions”, added Dr Eylert. ”Either make more spectrum available immediately, or limit the number of licensees so that each has at least 2x15MHz plus a further 5MHz unpaired spectrum to start their services, as recommended by the Forum in its Report #5. In practice, this limits countries to a maximum of four licences.”

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$Date: 2000/02/07 18:11:06 $ $Revision: 1.183 $ Copyright © 1998,1999,2000 by the UMTS Forum. All Rights reserved.