Experts that attended the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) World Radiocommunication Conference 2019 (WRC-19), which ended recently in Egypt, have identified key parameters for future communication technologies.
The parameters were identified and signed by some 3,400 delegates from around 165 member states, which include Nigeria and were enshrined in the final Acts of the Radio Regulations, the international treaty governing the global use of radio-frequency spectrum and satellite orbits.
WRC-19 identified additional globally harmonised millimetre wave frequency bands for International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT), including IMT-2020, otherwise known as 5G mobile, facilitating diverse usage scenarios for enhanced mobile broadband, massive machine-type communications and ultra-reliable and low-latency communications.
This, according to participants of the conference, would unlock a host of applications facilitating intelligent transport systems, creating smart cities and making communities more sustainable while allowing for effective climate action, improved health care, sustainable agricultural practices, and greater energy efficiency.
At the same time, protections were accorded to the Earth-exploration satellite service (EESS) as well as meteorological and other passive services in adjacent bands, such as the space research service (SRS) to ensure that space-based monitoring of the earth and its atmosphere remain unhindered. Satellite services supporting meteorology and climatology that aim to safeguard human life and natural resources will be protected from harmful radio-frequency interference, as will systems used by radio astronomers for deep space exploration.
Steps were also taken to ensure that radio astronomy stations would be protected from any harmful radio interference from other space stations or satellite systems in orbit.
ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao, said: “WRC-19 paves the way for new, more innovative ways to connect the world using both terrestrial and space-based communication technologies. As leading edge broadband technology manifests itself in new industrial developments, people in the remotest areas will also get better and more affordable access.”
Director of the ITU Radiocommunication Bureau, Mario Maniewicz, said: “The hard won agreements at WRC-19 will favourably impact the lives of billions of people around the world, creating a digital landscape for sustainable growth and development. The achievements of WRC-19 in enabling new communication technologies and the protection of existing services will be reflected in the continuous growth of the trillion dollar telecommunication and ICT industry.”
The deliberations at WRC-19 were steered by conference Chairman, Amr Badawi with assistance from six Vice-Chairmen: Kyu Jin Wee from the Republic of Korea; Tareq Al Awadhi from United Arab Emirates; Peter Zimri from South Africa; Alexander Kühn from Germany; Grace Koh from United States and Sergey Pastukh from Russian Federation.
The additional bands for IMT identified by the conference, include 24.25-27.5 GHz, 37-43.5 GHz, 45.5-47 GHz, 47.2-48.2 and 66-71 GHz bands, facilitating development of f5G mobile networks.
Regulatory procedures were established for non-geostationary satellite constellations in the fixed-satellite service, opening the skies to next-generation communication capabilities. Mega-constellations of satellites consisting of hundreds to thousands of spacecraft in low-earth orbit are becoming a popular solution for global telecommunications, as well as remote sensing, space and upper atmosphere research, meteorology, astronomy, technology demonstration and education. Regulatory changes were also introduced to facilitate rational, efficient and economical use of radio frequencies and associated orbits, including the geostationary-satellite orbit.