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WRC-15: A major step towards the mobile future
UMTS Forum welcomes positive decisions on harmonised spectrum at WRC-15 to ensure long-term success of 4G and 5G mobile broadband services

16 December 2015: The UMTS Forum congratulates national administrations attending the recent World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-15) for decisions made that will help secure the successful future of 4G and 5G mobile broadband services that will benefit of billions of consumers.

Evolution of 4G

With agreement on the identification of specific radio spectrum bands for IMT, mobile operators will benefit from vitally-needed additional spectrum resources to provide capacity and coverage, in response to future consumer demand for 4G mobile broadband services in urban as well as rural areas in all countries of the world.

  • A clear highlight of the meeting was the agreement of the 700 MHz band – now the most harmonised mobile band worldwide.
  • The global identification of 200 MHz from the so called C-band spectrum in the 3400 – 3600 MHz band gives operators the ability to provide urgently-needed additional capacity in urban areas. On the basis of previous in-depth studies, the UMTS Forum has strongly supported the C-band as the only viable spectrum band to satisfy the mobile broadband vision up to year 2020 – i.e. to provide wide contiguous bandwidth (at least 80-100 MHz) per operator.
  • In addition, the global identification of so called L-Band spectrum in the 1427-1518 MHz range affords operators an ideal blend of coverage and capacity.


The following radio frequency bands were identified for 4G mobile broadband systems in different regions and countries at the WRC-15:

  • 470 – 694/698 MHz (600 MHz) in some countries in Americas and Asia Pacific        
  • 694 – 790 MHz (700 MHz) in Africa, Arab states and Europe (now globally available)                
  • 1427 – 1518 MHz (L-band) in most countries (globally)                 
  • 3300 – 3400 MHz in many countries (mainly in Africa, Americas and Asia Pacific countries)                                 
  • 3400 – 3600 MHz (C-band) in most countries (globally)                
  • 3600 – 3700 MHz (C-band) in some countries in Americas               
  • 4800 – 4990 MHz in some countrie


Towards 5G

The meeting also discussed on several frequency bands above 6 GHz to be studied within ITU for 5G in the period leading up to WRC-19. WRC-15 resolved to study some bands between 24 GHz and 86 GHz – the highest frequencies yet to be evaluated for mobile broadband. Spectrum for 5G will enable many new highly advanced services that will improve the life of people, especially those living in large cities of the world with a pressing need for advanced communications. It is anticipated that Korean mobile operators will trial pre-commercial 5G networks during the Winter Olympic Games 2018, followed by first commercial deployments during the Summer Olympic Games 2020 in Japan.

In addition, the broadcasting and mobile industries in Europe will (subsequent to the decision of WRC-15 on the so-called TV UHF spectrum in the 470 – 694 MHz band) have time to jointly address the opportunity to adapt the mobile broadband technologies to better serve terrestrial TV requirements. This band has been identified for IMT in several major markets in Americas and in Asia-Pacific and thus has potential for future harmonisation. The objective for this is to meet challenging consumer demand for the future multimedia applications on mobile broadband networks, following a final decision at WRC-23.

Find out more about the UMTS Forum at WRC-15: http://www.umts-forum.org/content/view/4653/318/