WRC-15 ITU: results of first week

The World Radiocommunication Conference 2015 (WRC-15) of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is taking place in Geneva (Switzerland). The conference will address a wide range of key issues including:

  • Mobile broadband communications: identification of additional frequencies to respond to growing demand for mobile broadband communications;
  • Emergency and disaster relief communications: allocation of frequencies for public protection and disaster relief;
  • Environmental monitoring and climate change: new allocations to Earth exploration-satellite services with increased radar image resolution to improve global environmental monitoring;
  • Unmanned aircraft and wireless avionics intra-communications systems: spectrum for the aeronautical sector, for use by unmanned aircraft, as well as wireless communications inside aircraft allowing removal of wiring (reducing aircraft payload and cost);
  • Aircraft location: spectrum for systems to improve aircraft monitoring and tracking, based on new technologies or upgrades to existing technologies;
  • Maritime communications systems: maritime communications, facilitating the use of on-board digital broadcasts and Automatic Identification System to improve navigation safety;
  • Road safety: allocation of frequencies for short-range and high-resolution radar, for vehicle collision avoidance systems, improving road safety;
  • Operation of satellite systems: allocation of spectrum for broadband satellite systems, with connection to earth stations aboard mobile platforms (such as vessels and aircraft); also aims to improve coordination of procedures to make more efficient use of the spectrum and satellite orbits;
  • Universal Time: assessing the feasibility of obtaining a continuous time scale of reference, modifying Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).

At the first plenary session seven working committees were set up: 1) Steering Committee, consisting of the Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen of the Conference and of the six committees; 2) Credentials Committee, which confirms the legitimacy of the national delegations to the WRC-15; 3) Budget Committee, which controls the WRC-15 budget; 4) Aeronautical, Radiolocation, Maritime, Amateur, Mobile and PPDR; 5) Scientific, satellite (allocations and regulatory issues); 6) General and next WRC; 7) Editorial, reviewing editorial issues arising at the Conference, working simultaneously in six languages (French, English, Spanish, Chinese, Russian and Arabic) and ensuring that documentation is translated and made available in these six working languages.

The delegation from Portugal is following the three technical committees (4, 5 and 6), paying particular attention to issues which, during national preparations for WRC-15https://www.anacom.pt/render.jsp?contentId=1159887, were considered to have high and medium priority.

Compromise solutions were found for a few of the topics during the first week of Conference proceedings, fulfilling the goals of the three regions of the ITU Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R). These are:

- New primary aeronautical mobile allocation (en route) in the 4200-4400 MHz frequency band: in a footnote, this allocation is limited to automotive applications (WAIC) operating under the following conditions specified in new the Radio Regulations Resolution (RR) - they shall not cause interference or claim protection from systems operating in the context of the aeronautical radionavigation service in the same frequency band and must also comply with the standards and recommended practices published in Annex 10 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation (ICAO) (item 17.1 of the agenda);

- Protection of mobile satellite service systems in the 406-406.1 MHz range (Resolution 205) by increasing guard bands for MSS protection (Cospas-Sarsat system) in this frequency band (item 9.1.1 of the agenda);

- Application of additional regulatory measures to increase the availability of international public telecommunications services in developing countries, particularly regarding the use of satellite orbital positions and associated spectrum: it was concluded that it was not necessary to apply these measures (item 9.1.3 of the agenda);

- Regulatory aspects regarding nanosatellites and picosatellites: all regional proposals were previously coordinated so that an amendment to the RR would not be necessary, in particular the specific articles governing the coordination and notification of satellite networks (item 9.1. 8 of the agenda).

However, a lack of consensus persists on a number of other topics, such as:

- Identification of additional spectrum for International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) - (some of the bands under discussion are generating real controversy);

- Validation of the conditions governing use of the 694-790 MHz frequency band by the mobile service (coordination of mobile with aeronautical systems is very problematic);

- Identification of spectrum for Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in non-segregated space (positions expressed to date remain far apart and discordant);

- Potential identification of spectrum for Global Flight Tracking (GFT) - (questions are being asked of the studies submitted to support identification of spectrum for GFT at WRC-15).

It is expected that over the next two weeks, negotiations will lead to consensus and harmonised solutions (global or regional) for the items being discussed at WRC-15.

Conference proceedings will continue until 27 November 2015.

Further information: