The Icelandic capital Reykjavik hosted last 12-14 September the 39th meeting of working group ECC PT1 (International Mobile Telecommunications – IMT), chaired by Didier Chaveau. About 70 participants attended, including representatives from administrations, the European Communications Office (ECO), the European Commission, operators and manufacturers. Working group ECC PT1 is responsible for all issues concerning IMT. Its mission includes the development of harmonisation measures for IMT-identified bands and respective channels, carrying out sharing/compatibility studies involving IMT and the co-ordination of European positions in the ITU Radiocommunication sector.
The ECC PT1 chairman began the meeting by thanking the Icelandic administration for its invitation and welcoming all those present. The meeting’s agenda was approved; this was followed by approval of the report from the previous ECC PT1 meeting last 10-12 May in Biel, Switzerland. A short report presented results from the most recent meetings of the ECC working groups on Frequency Management (WG FM) and Regulatory Affairs (WG RA), the European Commission’s Radio Spectrum Policy Group (RSPG) and Radio Spectrum Committee (RSC), and the ITU groups associated to activities carried out by ECC PT1.
PT1 worked in three parallel subgroups: Spectrum Issues – SWG A, Sharing and Compatibility Issues – SWG C, and Services/Market Issues – SWG D. Note that SWG E (CEPT Activities associated to WP 5D for the development of IMT-Advanced) did not meet as there were no contributions for this subgroup.
In subgroup A, with respect to Decision ECC(11)HH – Harmonised frequency arrangements for mobile/fixed communications networks (MFCN) (including IMT) operating in the bands 3400-3600 MHz and 3600-3800 MHz – and in the wake of last June’s ECC meeting, its submission to public consultation was approved. Note that this decision’s fundamental aim is to allow broadband IMT services in the 3400-3800 MHz band, supported by more bandwidth for each channel, thereby changing the current framework for this band (meant for BWA systems).
Note that per the discussions at the ECC meeting, it was agreed that this document, forwarded for public consultation, should contain two text options for one of the ‘Decides’ – Decides 2. Basically what was at stake in each option was the “priority” to establish when planning the 3400-3800 MHz sub-band for the TDD and FDD duplex modes. Regarding the 3600-3800 MHz sub-band there had been consensus that it should solely envisage the TDD mode, while in the 3400-3600 MHz sub-band the FDD and TDD modes were kept open and it remained to be decided which of them should have “priority”, i.e. whether the administrations should establish a preferential duplex mode. The main concern of the public consultation was thus to determine how the duplex modes (FDD or TDD) would be considered in the 3400-3600 MHz sub-band.
This public consultation counted substantial participation (13 responses from administrations and 18 from industry/operators). As expected, the comments/proposals for alteration centred on the alternative text of Decides 2 in Decision ECC (11)HH:
OPTION A: “that administrations wishing to implement MFCN (including IMT) in the 3400-3600 MHz band should follow the harmonised frequency arrangement given in Annex 1 (TDD) or implement the harmonised frequency arrangement (taking into account considering ee) above) given in Annex 2 (FDD);
- that administrations wishing to implement MFCN (including IMT) in the 3400 – 3600 MHz band should adhere to the harmonised frequency arrangement given in Annex 1 (TDD);
- that administrations wishing to implement MFCN (including IMT) in the 3400 – 3600 MHz band with frequency arrangements other than the harmonised arrangement in Annex 1 should follow Annex 2 (FDD).
The responses received resulted in no clear tendency and even showed a tie in terms of the administrations’ preferences (six supports for each option – A and B) 1.
After the intense debate at this ECC PT1 gathering, no consensus was reached regarding either option. Indeed, despite the efforts to work out a consensual text (eventually by altering options A and B), various administrations, industry representatives and operators were unwilling to back away from their positions, thus preventing a solution acceptable to all parties.
It was thus concluded that the next ECC meeting should decide which option is best. ECC PT1 duly drew up a document summarising the key arguments in favour of each option.
Given the intention to carry out a study with a view to revising Decision ECC (06)07 concerning the use of GSM on board aircraft, specifically to take into account the 2 GHz (UMTS) band, ECC PT1 sent a liaison statement (LS) to WG SE PT7 identifying subjects that should be considered by that group, for example the need to include/study the 800 MHz band (as band to be protected by GSM OBA systems). These (SE PT7) studies will serve as the basis for revision of ECC Report 93.
As for subgroup C, with respect to “border co-ordination” most SWG C activity has lately focused on determining co-ordination methods in the various frequency bands allocated to IMT/MFCN. The following recommendations were recently approved in this area:
- Co-ordination for (MFCN) systems in the 800 MHz band;
- Co-ordination for (MFCN) systems in the 2.6 GHz band.
The meeting also saw finalisation of the revised Recommendation ECC/REC/(08)02 on the 900/1800 MHz band which envisages, considering the results of CEPT reports 40, 41 and 42, the co-ordination (beyond UMTS/GSM) of LTE and WiMAX systems. Basically, this revision defines co-ordination triggers at the borderline and at a distance from the border (9 km) where the maximum fields set in this recommendation should be verified.
This document will now be submitted to WG FM so that it can be approved for public consultation.
Regarding the revision of Decision (06)01 – core UMTS band (2 GHz) – the bands covered by this revision encompass the UMTS 2 GHz band (1900-1920 MHz, 1920-1980 MHz/2110-2170 MHz and 2010-2025 MHz) where the TDD duplex mode and FDD duplex mode are included. Following discussions at the most recent ECC meeting, agreement was reached that ECC PT1 should, to start, undertake a revision of this decision with a view to covering technical conditions for the FDD band, namely taking into account the results of CEPT Report 39. Regarding the TDD band, talks now under way indicate that this subject may require more thorough consideration, bearing in mind the results of CEPT Report 39, which show the need to establish technical requisites more restrictive than the current ones. Another problematic aspect of discussion of the TDD band concerns the fact that the spectrum to be defined as the par (downlink) corresponding to the 1900-1920 MHz band (about which WG FM will opine) has not been unequivocally determined. Note that the European Commission has via the Radio Spectrum Committee launched a study (still ongoing) meant to identify the socio-economic benefits of eventual changes in the conditions currently implemented in these TDD bands.
In conclusion, ECC PT 1 finalised the revision of Decision (06)01, even though it did not deal with technical conditions applied to the TDD band. This document will be submitted to the ECC so that it can be approved for public consultation.
ECC PT1 also reached agreement on the format of the ECC report on the subject of TDD network co-existence, which should be completed in September 2012. It also decided that it would monitor development of the ECC reports on compatibility in the 2300-2400 MHz band (BWS systems) and in the 2700-2900 MHz band (radars and IMT), which are the responsibility of WG SE.
Regarding SWG D and based on the questionnaire sent to the CEPT administrations on services/penetration/traffic indicators in mobile broadband, a report (internal PT1) was completed which presents the latest data on statistics, trends/plans and forecasts in the different CEPT countries. This report highlights the growth of mobile broadband network traffic, the development of new services and advances in terminal equipment. Basically, the report aims to support the future need to identify additional spectrum for mobile systems.
The next meeting will be held in Poland on 11-13 April 2012.
1 During the public consultation process Portugal showed support for Option B, mainly because it followed the ECC orientation (that this Decision should obey the same principles of Decision (09)03). Portugal also indicated that the text of Option A was not clear regarding an eventual preference for either of the duplex modes.