World Radiocommunication Conference 2015 (WRC-15)

/ Updated on 29.01.2016

The 2015 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-15), held under the auspices of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), took place on 2-27 November 2015 in Geneva.

Festus Daudu of Nigeria was named chair of the Conference; the six vice-chairs were A. Jamieson (New Zealand), Y. Al-Bulushi (Oman), D. Obam (Kenya), D. Tomimura (Brazil), A. Kühn (Germany) and N. Nikiforov (Russia).

Nearly 3300 participants attended, representing 162 of the 193 ITU member states, along with about 500 observers from 130 entities, including (private) sector members and various international organisations. More than 2700 proposals on the various WRC-15 agenda points were considered. After intense discussions and negotiations it was possible to reach consensus on a large number of key questions, specifically:

  • mobile broadband communications: identification of additional frequencies to meet growing demand for mobile broadband communications;
  • emergency and rescue communications: allocation of frequencies for public protection and disaster relief;
  • monitoring of the environment and climate change: new allocations for Earth exploration satellite service, with higher resolution radar images for better global environmental monitoring;
  • unmanned aircraft vehicles and wireless intra-avionics systems: spectrum for the aeronautic sector to be used by unmanned aircraft and for wireless communications inside aircraft so that cabling can be removed (thereby reducing the cost and weight of aircraft);
  • aircraft localisation: spectrum for systems meant to improve monitoring and localisation of aircraft, based on new technologies or updating existing ones;
  • maritime communication systems: maritime communications, facilitating the use of digital on-board transmissions, and automatic identification system for vessels to improve shipping security;
  • road safety: allocation of frequencies for high resolution short range radars, for anti-collision systems in vehicles to improve road safety;
  • operation of satellite systems: allocation of spectrum for broadband satellite systems, with connection to earth stations on board moving platforms (such as ships and aircraft) and with the goal of improving coordination procedures for more efficient use of satellite orbits and spectrum;
  • universal time: to examine the feasibility of obtaining a continuous reference time scale, modifying Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).

Also noteworthy was the approval after all interests had been reconciled of the agenda for WRC-19, which considers various topics, namely: i) spectrum for international mobile telecommunications (IMT) above 6 GHz; ii) regulatory measures to support modernisation of the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS); iii) spectrum concerning technical and regulatory measures to support introduction and use of the Global Aeronautical Distress and Safety System (GADSS); iv) potential allocation of the 50-54 MHz band to amateur service; v) global or regional harmonisation of additional spectrum for Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) in the scope of existing allocations for mobile service; vi) use of the 17.7-19.7 GHz/27.5-29.5 GHz frequencies by Earth Stations in Motion (ESIM); vii) regulatory actions for high altitude platform stations (HAPS) in the scope of existing allocations for fixed service; viii) spectrum and regulatory actions for wireless access systems/radio local area networks (WAS/RLAN) in bands in 5150-5925 MHz; iv) and spectrum and/or revision of the regulatory framework for satellite networks.

The proceedings of WRC-15 finished on 27 November 2015 after four weeks of intense work seeking harmonised solutions to facilitate the future development of wireless communications around the world. The Final Acts of WRC-15 were signed by representatives from 162 of the 193 ITU member states.

The agreements reached at this conference are currently set out in the Final Acts WRC-15 and take effect on 1 January 2017, in accordance with the revision of article 59 of the RR.


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