2012 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-12) - Geneva

The 2012 World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-12) of the Radiocommunication Sector of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU-R) was held from last 23 January to 17 February in Geneva. Nearly 3,000 participants attended, representing 165 of the ITU member states, along with around 100 observers and 700 representatives of (private) sector members and various international organisations.

These world conferences examine and review the ITU Radio Regulation, which governs radio spectrum use and satellite orbits. “The aim is to ensure that reliable radio services are available everywhere and at any time, enabling people to safely live and travel while benefiting from high performance radiocommunications,” ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré stated in his opening speech.

Tarek Al Awadhi of the United Arab Emirates was named conference chairman, along with six vice-chairs: Decker Anstrom (United States of America), Eric Fournier (France), Albert Nalbandian (Armenia), Mahiddine Ouhadj (Algeria), Habeeb Al-Shankiti (Saudi Arabia) and Alan Jamieson (New Zealand).

Seven working groups were established: 1) Steering, comprising the chairs and vice-chairs of the conference (plenary sessions) and the other six committees; 2) Credentials, to legitimise national delegations to WRC-12; 3) Budget, to control the WRC-12 budget; 4) Radio Location Finding - aeronautic, maritime and amateur; 5) Scientific – satellite, fixed, mobile and radio broadcasting; 6) General aspects, regulatory updates and programme of future work; 7) Editorial, to review editorial issues concerning the conference, which is marked by simultaneous use of six languages: French, English, Spanish, Chinese, Russian and Arabic – its documentation is consequently translated and disseminated in the six working languages. Portugal’s delegation accompanied the three technical committees – 4, 5 and 6 – particularly emphasising matters deemed priority during national preparations for WRC-12 (Preparation of WRC-12 - National Preparationhttps://www.anacom.pt/render.jsp?contentId=1041099).

The WRC-12 agenda included more than 25 points (Resolution 1291 of the ITU Council), encompassing virtually all terrestrial and satellite radiocommunication applications. The discussions on subjects such as convergence of terrestrial services, unmanned aircraft/aeronautical applications/radio location finding, spectrum access by satellite (R) mobile aeronautic service in generic mobile satellite service bands, the revision of appendix 17 concerning maritime mobile service, the results of studies on sharing in 790-862 MHz and elaboration of the WRC-15 agenda were especially difficult. For some of these topics a compromise solution was only achieved during the last WRC-12 working sessions.

WRC-12 ended its deliberations on 17 February after four weeks of intensive efforts to seek harmonised solutions to facilitate the future development of wireless communications around the world. The WRC-12 Final Acts were signed by representatives of 153 of the 193 ITU member states.