World Radiocommunications Conference identifies new frequency bands for 5G

ANACOM participated in the World Radiocommunications Conference of 2019 (WRC-19) of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), which ended last week in Egypt, attended by around 160 countries. The identification of new bands for mobile communication services, namely 5G, and satellites were topics under debate and which are especially relevant due to their strategic importance to Europe and Portugal.

Concerning mobile services, the ERC-19 identified globally harmonised additional frequency bands for the G5 implementation, namely the bands 24.25-27.5 GHz, 37-43.5 GHz and 66-71 GHz. The conditions associated to this allocation of additional spectrum include power limits for the protection of the Earth exploration-satellite service (passive) in bands below 24.25-27.5 GHz and in 36-37 GHz. Other bands were also identified for mobile communications, of regional nature, not covering Europe as a whole.

Together with the bands already identified for 5G, these new bands that have now been identified and harmonised will contribute to the development of scenarios that require higher bandwidths, communications of the massive machine type and communications of less latency and higher reliability. The objectives are diverse and well-known: connect people and things; foster the growth of smart cities; promote means for provision of improved healthcare and, if necessary, remotely; create conditions for the extensive development of smart transport systems; contribute to industrial transformation based on digital technologies, including Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) platforms; process massive datasets in a (very) short period of time, benefiting from the potential of artificial intelligence in wireless technologies/networks; encourage the availability of communication means that stimulate higher energy efficiency and sustainable agricultural practices; protect systems that analyse the planet and its environment, for the benefit of all citizens; provide conditions for the emergence of virtual and augmented reality; develop original, functional and useful applications for different sectors of society.

For satellites, the WRC-19 decided to approve a large set of technical and regulatory provisions to promote the development and implementation of new systems of low orbit satellites in frequency bands shared with geostationary satellites, which should increase the offer of the space component in the sphere of the “network of networks” concept with a view to more highly effective broadband applications, such as remote sensing for space exploration, meteorology, astronomy, demonstration of technology and scientific experiments. Indeed, the aim is to lay the groundwork for the new satellite systems to constitute mega constellations, consisting of hundreds to thousands of space objects in low-earth orbit, which could become a solution for global telecommunications and other applications.

The challenge posed by the space component for the G5 implementation entails the capability of providing a complementary offer to the earth component either as backhauling, in the case of areas where the coverage by terrestrial systems is properly assured, or because due to its very nature the satellite component is preferential for remote or oceanic earth areas.

The agenda for the next World Radiocommunications Conference was approved at the WRC-19, which will be held in 2023, covering a variety of topics: additional spectrum for mobile communications between 3300 MHz and 10.5 GHz; review of the use of the spectrum and the spectrum needs of the existing services in the 470-960 MHz frequency range in Region 1; among other themes.


  • WRC 2019