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Embracing the future: the UMTS Forum at WRC-15

Industry association shares detailed views on spectrum needs for tomorrow’s mobile broadband services

Geneva, 05 November 2015: At this year’s World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-15), the UMTS Forum is urging national administrations to adopt a holistic, forward-looking view of radio spectrum allocation for mobile broadband (MBB) systems.

"Mobile already has a profound effect on the shape of our society" says UMTS Forum Chairman Jean-Pierre Bienaimé. “But we are just at the beginning of a new era of advanced communications that will contribute positively to the economic and social developments of developed and emerging countries alike.

"We’re rapidly moving beyond the simple idea of isolated ‘services’ delivered by mobile networks", continues Bienaimé. "With more economies becoming increasingly reliant on MBB, it’s time to embrace the future – and take a broader view of IMT radio spectrum allocation as a key enabler for innovation and economic growth."

At the start of the landmark meeting in Geneva (from 2-27 November), the UMTS Forum’s recommendations on specific WRC-15 agenda items are summarised here:

Agenda Item 1.1 (to consider additional spectrum allocations to the mobile service on a primary basis and identification of additional frequency bands for IMT and related regulatory provisions)

  • 470-694 MHz: Ideal for both urban and remote/rural areas, the UHF band will allow countries to embrace new audio-visual viewing behaviour by allowing mobile and broadcasting to jointly deliver both linear and on-demand audio-visual content in a complementary manner. The UMTS Forum invites countries to consider a new co-primary allocation to the mobile service for the bands in the range 470-694 MHz.
  • 1427-1518 MHz (L-band): This band is already partially allocated to mobile, and is in use for mobile broadband services in some parts of the world. This range of spectrum would indeed benefit from being fully harmonised on a global basis by an allocation to the mobile service and identification to IMT. Today, a new technology approach – the supplemental downlink (SDL) – has created a paradigm, allowing countries to turn this range into a very attractive spectrum asset for mobile broadband services and applications. The UMTS Forum stresses that mandatory limits should be avoided at the frequency 1427 MHz, as has been suggested by some countries. The UMTS Forum invites countries to consider new mobile allocations as appropriate and IMT identifications for the bands in the range 1427-1518 MHz.
  • 2700-2900 MHz (S-band): Adjacent to the 2500-2690 MHz band, the S-band is perfect for complementing existing MBB networks by reaping the benefit of using the same antenna and feeder systems for cost effi¬cient implementation, both for the infrastructure and mobile devices. The UMTS Forum invites countries to consider a new co-primary allocation to the mobile service and identification to IMT for the band 2700-2900 MHz.
  • 3400-4200 MHz (C-band): The C-band is the only candidate range providing su¬fficient bandwidth to satisfy the IMT-Advanced vision – i.e. to provide at least 80 MHz to 100 MHz contiguous bandwidths per service provider. The UMTS Forum invites countries to consider a new allocation to the mobile service for the bands in the range 3400-4200 MHz and identification to IMT for the bands in the range 3400-3800 MHz.

Agenda Item 1.2 (to examine results of ITU-R studies on use of the frequency band 694-790 MHz for mobile)

  • With the 700 MHz band now de facto the most harmonised MBB frequency band worldwide, administrations must coordinate their efforts to make the band available on as wide a geographical footprint as possible. It is thus important that spectrum emission limits – especially for terminals which are harmonised globally and cannot be tailor-made for each country – do not to place an undue burden on implementation. Since IMT terminals generate little or no cross-border interference, it is unacceptable for countries that do not have existing plans today to implement the 700 MHz band in their country to request unreasonably tight emission limits, when they are neither concerned nor impacted by the topic.

Agenda Item 10 (recommended Agenda Items for WRC-19)

  • The UMTS Forum supports an agenda item for WRC-19 on spectrum for 5G mobile systems (also known as IMT-2020). Spectrum for 5G will enable many new very advanced services that will improve the life of people, especially those living in large cities of the world with a pressing need for advanced communication networks. With commercial deployment of the first 5G systems expected around 2020, now is the time for ITU and recognised regional bodies to begin study and analysis of 5G spectrum need. The first step of this process is for countries to decide on the respective Agenda Item for WRC-19, noting that studies of both centimetric and millimetric ranges are needed.


Download UMTS Forum key messages on mobile broadband spectrum at WRC-15