Thursday, February 22, 2007

The UMTS Forum: preparations for WRC 07

The UMTS Forum: preparations for WRC 07

1GHz new spectrum will be needed to meet growth in demand for very high-speed mobile services by 2020
WRC-07 is the right time to identify new spectrum: our industry cannot afford to wait until the next conference in 2011 to identify this additional spectrum
The UMTS Forum considers that at least 2 x 30 MHz of globally harmonised paired spectrum in the band 470-862MHz would provide a viable minimum coverage extension band for IMT-2000/UMTS
Current regulatory provisions should be reviewed in order to protect the 2500-2690MHz band from satellite interference that could significantly reduce the coverage and capacity of UMTS networks.
This year's World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-07) is a landmark event for our industry. Preparations for WRC-07 have been ongoing for several years and CPM, the Conference Preparatory Meeting, is an important milestone in the preparations.

In the UMTS Forum we represent a significant group of stakeholders who are directly interested in spectrum topics in the context of the development of public mobile communication networks including UMTS/IMT-2000. Consequentially the UMTS Forum is actively contributing to the ITU preparatory process for WRC-07 including this month's CPM meeting in Geneva.

Harmonised spectrum to meet future global market demand
The UMTS Forum has a close interest in assessing the amount of spectrum will be needed for the future development of IMT-2000 and systems beyond IMT-2000 ('IMT-Advanced'). Here we have already estimated in the UMTS Forum that as much as 1GHz of new spectrum will be needed to meet growth in demand for very high-speed mobile services by 2020. These frequencies are needed in addition to spectrum that is already identified for UMTS/IMT-2000 at the earlier WARC-92 and WRC-2000 meetings, namely 585MHz in Europe. We also believe that these bands for advanced services should be globally common and located below 5 GHz in order to support full mobility with an acceptable trade-off between affordable cost and full area coverage.

Existing bands are without doubt insufficient to satisfy the spectrum demand for IMT-Advanced. Tomorrow's mobile applications and services demanding our predicted traffic volumes with 100 Mbps/1Gbps peak data rates cannot perform satisfactorily within today's IMT-2000 spectrum bands. WRC‑07 is without doubt the right time to identify new spectrum for IMT-Advanced After all, it has typically taken around a decade between the time when the spectrum is identified and when it is actually used by the market. Our industry cannot afford to wait until the next conference in 2011 to identify this additional spectrum that is going to have a massive socio-economic effect on our society over the next two decades.

Serving growth markets
Another key topic at WRC this year is the cost-effective extension of mobile coverage using affordable UMTS/IMT-2000 systems and terminals to serve growth markets like China, India, Eastern Europe, Latin America and Africa where there are large numbers of people in geographically scattered areas of low population density. The switchover from analogue to digital broadcasting is expected to free some spectrum in the band 470-862 MHz, and these 'digital dividend' frequencies are of particular interest to provide extended coverage. In the UMTS Forum we have shown that significantly fewer base station sites are needed to provide UMTS/IMT-2000 coverage at these lower frequencies compared to today's 2 GHz core bands. In Region 1, the ITU Regional Radiocommunication Conference 2006 (RRC-06) established a frequency plan for terrestrial digital TV broadcasting. The results of RRC-06 allow greater flexibility in the use of broadcasting bands: discussion continues on how to introduce mobile use into the band.

The UMTS Forum is therefore urging that WRC-07 identifies a new Coverage Extension Band in the lower frequency bands for IMT-2000 to address part of WRC-07 Agenda Item 1.4 and its related Resolution 228. This new Coverage Extension Band, we believe, should be allocated on a primary basis for mobile services in all three ITU Regions and identified for terrestrial IMT-2000. The UMTS Forum considers that at least 2 x 30 MHz of paired spectrum from the band 470-862 MHz would provide a viable minimum Coverage Extension Band for IMT-2000/UMTS.

Safeguarding UMTS/IMT-2000 systems against interference
One further topic of great importance at WRC-07 is the protection of the 2.5GHz band from satellite interference. The 2500-2690 MHz band was previously identified for IMT-2000 on a worldwide basis by WRC-2000. Moreover, this band is allocated to various satellite services, in particular Broadcasting Satellite Service (BSS), Fixed Satellite Service and BSS (sound) service. As a UMTS extension band, the 2.5 GHz band requires protection from interference from those satellite services. Current regulatory provisions, including satellite radiation powers, have to be reviewed to ensure this protection on a long-term basis. Satellite interference could have a very detrimental effect by significantly reducing the coverage and capacity of UMTS networks. It should be noted that WRC-03 adopted appropriate new regulations that ensure the protection of UMTS networks from BSS (sound) interference. Respective regulations will have to be adopted at WRC-07 for other space services