Sunday, 06 July 2008 
WRC-07 “an exceptional opportunity to identify harmonised spectrum globally for IMT”, says UMTS Forum PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 02 March 2007
Speaking at the occasion of the Conference Preparatory Meeting (CPM-07) of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) this week, UMTS Forum Chairman Jean-Pierre Bienaimé stressed the importance of identifying sufficient harmonised spectrum globally to support future high data rate mobile broadband services.

Emphasising the UMTS Forum’s successful co-operation with ITU, Bienaimé particularly welcomed positive results from CPM-07. The meeting – which attracted more than 1000 delegates from almost 100 countries – has resulted in agreement of the CPM text which reflects now the UMTS Forum key messages on additional spectrum to support the development of IMT-2000 systems and systems beyond IMT-2000 ('IMT-Advanced'). The text also recognises the need to improve coverage in large areas of low population density.

Speaking at the opening of the CPM, ITU Secretary-General, Dr. Hamadoun I. Touré, said that participants should work to develop innovative approaches to managing spectrum to accommodate a range of new demands. These include additional spectrum for mobile communications, advanced aeronautical communications and global broadband satellite systems, while ensuring the protection of frequencies for preventing natural disasters and ensuring emergency communications.

“The UMTS Forum continues to enjoy a close and fruitful co-operation with ITU on a wide range of spectrum and other topics”, stated Jean-Pierre Bienaimé. “This month’s meeting has provided an unparalleled platform for the UMTS Forum to present its views on spectrum in advance of the World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-07) later this year. “WRC-07 is a landmark event that will significantly influence our mobile industry over the next decade and beyond”, added Bienaimé. “We value the unique opportunity that has been provided to us by ITU to present the views of many spectrum stakeholders who are directly interested in the development of public mobile communication networks.”

A dinner hosted in Geneva by the UMTS Forum attracted more than 120 attendees, including a significant number of national delegations. The event was also marked by the presence of the ITU Secretary-General, Dr. Touré, who emphasized the important role of bodies such as the UMTS Forum in supporting the work of ITU. Mr Houlin Zhao, ITU Deputy Secretary-General, Mr Valery Timofeev, Director of the Radiocommunication Bureau, and Mr Malcolm Johnson, Director of the Telecom Standardization Bureau, were also present at this event.

Dr. Touré expressed his satisfaction with the cooperation between ITU and the UMTS Forum in all three sectors of activities — spectrum management, standards-setting and telecommunication development. He also thanked the UMTS Forum for its role as a partner of Connect the World, a global ITU partnership initiative to connect the unconnected by 2015 in support of the connectivity goals of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). Describing his immediate priorities, he called on the UMTS Forum and its members to cooperate with ITU in its efforts to bridge the digital divide and bring security in cyberspace.

Harmonised spectrum to meet future global market demand
Anne-Tuulia Leino, Chair of the UMTS Forum Spectrum Aspects Group, highlighted the mobile industry’s demands for new spectrum for IMT. Studies carried out in ITU-R and the UMTS Forum indicate that about 1 GHz more spectrum is needed after the year 2015. These new frequencies are needed to fulfil to capacity demands for new high bit-rate services. It is expected that all services that are today available with DSL will be also be required in the mobile environment in the future. These services should be available everywhere with sufficient quality of service, they should be easy to use and the price needs to be reasonable. Leino also emphasized the UMTS Forum’s belief in the IMT concept which addresses the evolution of technology and equipment interoperability. In addition she reminded that coverage is, and will be, a major issue for the operators Regarding specific candidate bands for IMT, Leino noted that instead of favouring any specific band at this stage, the Forum believes that the most important is to make sufficient amount of new harmonised spectrum available for IMT.

Serving growth markets
Another key topic considered at WRC later this year is the cost-effective extension of mobile coverage using affordable UMTS/IMT-2000 systems and terminals to serve growth markets like China, India, Eastern Europe, Latin America and Africa where there are large numbers of people in geographically scattered areas of low population density. The switchover from analogue to digital broadcasting is expected to free some spectrum in the band 470-862 MHz, and these 'digital dividend' frequencies are of particular interest to provide extended coverage. The UMTS Forum studies have shown that significantly fewer base station sites are needed to provide UMTS/IMT-2000 coverage at these lower frequencies compared to today's 2 GHz core bands. In Region 1, the ITU Regional Radiocommunication Conference 2006 (RRC-06) established a frequency plan for terrestrial digital TV broadcasting. The results of RRC-06 allow greater flexibility in the use of broadcasting bands: discussion continues on how to introduce mobile use into the band.

The UMTS Forum is therefore urging that WRC-07 allocates the band 470-862 MHz on a co-primary basis for mobile services in all three ITU Regions and identifies for terrestrial IMT a globally harmonized sub-band. Thus a new Coverage Extension Band in the lower frequency bands will address part of WRC-07 Agenda Item 1.4 and its related Resolution 228. The UMTS Forum considers that at least 2 x 30 MHz of paired spectrum from the band 470-862 MHz would provide a viable minimum Coverage Extension Band for IMT-2000/UMTS.

Safeguarding UMTS/IMT-2000 systems against interference
One further topic of great importance at WRC-07 is the protection of the 2.5GHz band from satellite interference. The 2500-2690 MHz band was previously identified for IMT-2000 on a worldwide basis by WRC-2000. Moreover, this band is allocated to various satellite services, in particular Broadcasting Satellite Service (BSS), Fixed Satellite Service and BSS (sound) service. As a UMTS extension band, the 2.5 GHz band requires protection from interference from those satellite services. Current regulatory provisions, including satellite radiation powers, have to be reviewed to ensure this protection on a long-term basis. Satellite interference could have a very detrimental effect by significantly reducing the coverage and capacity of UMTS networks. It should be noted that WRC-03 adopted appropriate new regulations that ensure the protection of UMTS networks from BSS (sound) interference. Respective regulations will have to be adopted at WRC-07 for other space services.

CPM-07 is a major step in the final preparations for the World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-07) which is scheduled to take place in Geneva, 22 October to 16 November 2007. CPM-07 addresses 27 separate agenda items with a view to formulating the technical, operational and regulatory information on which WRC-07 will base its decisions. CPM-07 will produce a Report that will address many complex issues arising from the full gamut of studies that have been conducted over the past three and a half years. This, in turn, will allow the World Radiocommunication Conference to work through its agenda as efficiently as possible.