GSMA hails outcomes from WRC-15 with 5G harmonisation next on agenda

The World Radiocommunication Conference 2015 (WRC-15) in Geneva had a good outcome for the mobile industry, according to the GSMA, which welcomed the addition of new spectrum to mobile broadband.

The ITU-organised conference came to several conclusions that met approval from GSMA Chief Regulatory Officer John Giusti. The widespread governmental support for globally harmonising 200MHz of the C-band (3.4-3.6GHz) was hailed as a positive step in meeting urban capacity demands. The GSMA is also pleased by the new globally harmonised L-band (1427-1518MHz), agreement. Expanding the 700MHz band (694-790MHz), from a regionally harmonised band in the Americas and Asia Pacific, to a global entity, was also welcomed.

The decisions took weeks of intense treaty negotiations before governments agreed three new globally harmonised spectrum bands, according to Giusti. However, this ‘major step forward’ in global harmonisation will yield a worthwhile economic growth dividend. “Harmonisation of spectrum is key to driving the economies of scale needed to deliver low-cost, ubiquitous mobile broadband to consumers around the globe,” said Giusti.

The decision to expand the 700MHz band globally means that, with mobile and TV broadcasting in the same band, regulators in all nations are better place to respond to the changing needs of their citizens. The sub-700MHz band is now available for mobile in markets covering more than half the population of the Americas. Several major markets within the Indian subcontinent have now also announced their intention to use part of this band for mobile broadband.

“This decision represents a significant milestone in building momentum towards global harmonisation,” said Giusti, “By making this spectrum available in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, governments have taken an important step in improving the reach of critical mobile broadband services.”

However, there is more to be done, said Giusti, and the road to 5G harmonisation needs to be smoothed. “Looking further into the future, we acknowledge the agreement at WRC-15 for a new agenda item for WRC-19 to identify high-frequency bands above 24GHz for 5G mobile services. This is a critical first stage in the journey towards a new wave of mobile innovation, considerably faster than existing technologies and driving a hyper-connected society in which mobile will play an ever more important role in people’s lives,” said Giusti.

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