Countries agree on new mobile spectrum at radio conference

Feb 17, 2012
The International Telecommunication Union said its World Radiocommunications Conference (WRC-12) has agreed a treaty aimed at revising the radio frequency spectrum to speed up mobile services.

The International Telecommunication Union said Friday its World Radiocommunications Conference (WRC-12) has agreed a treaty aimed at revising the radio frequency spectrum to speed up mobile services.

The increased spectrum will allow easier and cheaper global broadband expansion and will replace the current third generation or 3G technology for more than one billion mobile telephone users, said the ITU.

The European Broadcasting Union expressed concerns about the new arrangements leading to the opening up of more spectrum but a global group representing mobile phone operators and and the United States welcomed them.

"We believe WRC-12 has been very successful," Decker Anstrom, the head of the US delegation to the conference, said in a telepress conference on Thursday just before the four-week meeting ended.

"US objectives were largely realised."

But the EBU, representing 85 public broadcasters in 56 countries, warned that its own new approach to spectrum management was at risk from the WRC-12 decision.

"We think this could cause considerable disruption and loss of services for millions of viewers," EBU communications manager Michelle Roverelli told AFP.

She said this week the approved a five-year policy programme.

Due to pressure from African and Arab regional administrations, delegates to WRC-12 decided to look at allocating the 700MHz band (694-790 MHz) to mobile services, the EBU said.

"This decision could cause considerable problems in Europe, where the 700MHz band is heavily used for terrestrial broadcasting with, in many cases, long-term licensing arrangements in place," said Roverelli.

Terrestrial services do not use satellite transmission or cables, normally using .

ITU General Secretary Hamadoun Toure said, "WRC-12 has helped to define new and better ways to regulate radio services and applications."

"It represents a major contribution in making the world a better place for all," he said as the conference attended by 165 of the ITU member countries was ending.

WRC-12 chairman Tariq al-Awadhi described the negotiations as "sometimes difficult", but added, "we have arrived at consensus that will shape the way we communicate in the future."

After the members of the ITU, which represents 193 countries, signed the treaty on Friday, officials said the new broadband spectrum could come on stream in 2015 after approval at WRC-15.

Francois Rancy, director of the ITU's radiocommunication bureau, said the treaty "is good for consumers and it is good for operators," because increased spectrum costs are cheaper.

The GSMA, representing global mobile operators, said on its website the governments at the WRC-12 "have recognised the critical role that spectrum plays in bringing the enabling power of mobile broadband to citizens globally."

"Many countries have recognised the need to secure the future of mobile broadband and along with our members we stand committed to the success of the ITU's work," said Anne Bouverot, director general of the GSMA.

"By taking action now to secure more spectrum, mobile operators will be better positioned to meet the data needs of billions of consumers well into the future.

International allocations are made only through WRC meetings and treaty negotiations take place every three to four years.

Explore further: 4.5 million smartphones were lost or stolen in US in 2013

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

US warns of mobile radio band bottleneck

Jan 23, 2012

The United States seeks to avoid bottlenecks in crowded global mobile radio spectrums, the head of a US delegation to the World Radiocommunication Conference said here Monday.

Global radio experts float new mobile phone standard

Jan 20, 2012

Global radio experts have approved radio standards that are to usher in a new mobile phone operating system to replace third generation or 3G technology, the International Telecommunication Union announced ...

UN sets stage for blazing fast new mobile devices

Jan 19, 2012

(AP) -- A United Nations telecom meeting has approved the next generation of mobile technology, which experts say will make devices 500 times faster than 3G smartphones and eliminate the wait time between the tap of a finger ...

UN: new group helps promote broadband

May 10, 2010

(AP) -- The International Telecommunication Union has set up a group headed by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim and Rwandan President Paul Kagame to help more countries get access to broadband connections.

Five billion people to use mobile phones in 2010: UN

Feb 15, 2010

The ranks of cell phone subscribers will swell to five billion people this year thanks to the growth of smartphones in developed nations and mobile services in poor nations, a UN agency said Monday.

Recommended for you

Hand out money with my mobile? I think I'm ready

Apr 17, 2014

A service is soon to launch in the UK that will enable us to transfer money to other people using just their name and mobile number. Paym is being hailed as a revolution in banking because you can pay peopl ...

Quantenna promises 10-gigabit Wi-Fi by next year

Apr 16, 2014

( —Quantenna Communications has announced that it has plans for releasing a chipset that will be capable of delivering 10Gbps WiFi to/from routers, bridges and computers by sometime next year. ...

Tech giants look to skies to spread Internet

Apr 16, 2014

The shortest path to the Internet for some remote corners of the world may be through the skies. That is the message from US tech giants seeking to spread the online gospel to hard-to-reach regions.

Wireless industry makes anti-theft commitment

Apr 16, 2014

A trade group for wireless providers said Tuesday that the biggest mobile device manufacturers and carriers will soon put anti-theft tools on the gadgets to try to deter rampant smartphone theft.

Dish Network denies wrongdoing in $2M settlement

Apr 15, 2014

The state attorney general's office says Dish Network Corp. will reimburse Washington state customers about $2 million for what it calls a deceptive surcharge, but the satellite TV provider denies any wrongdoing.

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

1 / 5 (1) Feb 17, 2012
This is great progress in aligning bands across countries. Phone usage will become cheaper, and become more roamable across continents. Bravo!

1 / 5 (1) Feb 23, 2012
I wish they would do that in Australia, one often has the situation where Telstra has coverage over say Jurien Bay but if you are with vodaphone then no coverage - in the interests of care for customers all region providers should allow roaming across each others networks with some verbal or sms indication you are not in your primary service provider area and allow choice, in the short term they get more income and in the long term they are appreciated more for their care - this might also improve their income long term by demonstration of their maturity...

Free will can only come from complete and full education, our free will is hampered by the lack of education of the public to demand this option because of puerile and one-dimensional competitive practices between the carriers - time to write to more members of parliament I believe, there is faith my attention and deliberated communication may result in change as we know for sure by now there is no static in human behaviour ;-)

More news stories

Making graphene in your kitchen

Graphene has been touted as a wonder material—the world's thinnest substance, but super-strong. Now scientists say it is so easy to make you could produce some in your kitchen.