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UMTS Forum applauds progress on 2.6 GHz band harmonisation for IMT-2000/UMTS

Mobile industry body The UMTS Forum (www.umts-forum.org) has voiced its support for recommendations by the ECC* (Electronic Communications Committee) of the CEPT to designate the 2500 - 2690 MHz spectrum band for IMT-2000/UMTS networks.

Aligned with ITU-R recommendations** made by ITU-R WP8F concerning frequency arrangements for the 2.6 GHz band, the ECC has urged in a recent decision - now in public consultation until 23 December 2004 - that frequencies in the 2.6GHz range should be made available from 1st of January 2008, subject to market demand and national licensing schemes.

"This identification of additional frequencies in the 2.6 GHz range - higher than those in 2 GHz bands already used by first IMT-2000/UMTS networks - will help to assure the long-term market success of UMTS services, while allowing for a natural evolution of the technology", commented UMTS Forum Chairman Jean-Pierre Bienaim, speaking on the first day of the GSM Africa Conference in Cape Town.

Ensuring long-term stability in spectrum policy

In identifying the WARC-92 band for IMT-2000 in 1992, the International Telecommunications Union recognised the importance of long-term stability in spectrum policy. Through economies of scale, globally harmonised spectrum will make a major contribution to connecting the unconnected by reducing the cost of access to IMT-2000 Third Generation (3G) mobile networks and services.

There are currently over 12.5 million subscribers to more than 50 WCDMA networks worldwide. Continuing growth in demand for mobile multimedia services - as predicted by The UMTS Forum and other industry sources - will require additional harmonised spectrum resources outside the so called WARC-92 'core bands' currently deployed by UMTS operators.

The UMTS Forum has actively collaborated with ECC/PT1 on the development of the ECC Decision on IMT-2000/UMTS channelling arrangements in the band 2500-2690 MHz. The Forum has previously produced a report on 3G traffic characteristics that leads to the adoption of channelling arrangements with an important portion of FDD symmetrical spectrum. The Forum also produced a study on the current utilisation of frequency bands identified for terrestrial and satellite UMTS/IMT-2000 in terms of subscriber figures. This study helped ECC/PT1 also make a decision on the use of the sub-bands 2500-2520MHz/2670-2690 MHz by terrestrial IMT-2000.

As a consequence of these studies, The UMTS Forum supports the adoption of the draft ECC Decision ?on harmonised utilisation of spectrum for IMT-2000/UMTS systems operating within the band 2500 - 2690 MHz? without any modification. In particular, the Forum supports:

- The decision to use the whole band 2500-2690 MHz for terrestrial IMT-2000/UMTS. The UMTS Forum supports this decision since it ensures that the appropriate amount of spectrum is made available in the future to support the extension of capacity of terrestrial UMTS network.

- The decision to designate the use of the band 2500 ? 2690 MHz exclusively for IMT-2000/UMTS systems. The UMTS Forum approves of this decision since it supports the global harmonisation of the band 2500-2690 MHz for IMT-2000/UMTS systems, ensuring global benefits for UMTS users, operators and manufacturers, taking advantage of economies of scale, global roaming, open standards and network and services interoperability. The work for the global harmonisation of the extension band started in 1997. In 2000, WRC-00 identified the band 2500 ? 2690 MHz for IMT 2000 on a worldwide level in order to fulfil the additional capacity needs of terrestrial IMT-2000/UMTS. As a first step towards harmonization, CEPT adopted an ECC Decision(02)06 that designates the whole 2500 ? 2690 MHz band for UMTS/IMT-2000 systems. The current Decision therefore confirms what has already been decided in Decision(02)06.