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WRC-27: Looking ahead

Following on from our previous posts covering the main topics of interest at WRC-23 (Cislunar Communications, Equitable Access and MSS), we’re now taking a look forward to what we can expect to see in three years’ time at WRC-27.


But first, a look back


Although many in the industry perceive WRC as a forum dominated by the international mobile telecom (IMT) industry and satellite, this, in fact, has never been the case. There has always been a well-balanced agenda between space services, IMT, and other novel terrestrial services.


Some of the other services contributing to a diverse agenda have been:


  • Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), Electronic News Gathering (ENG), and High Altitude Platforms (HAPs) at WRC-12


  • At WRC-15, Broadband Public Protection and Disaster Relief, amateur service, Automatic Identification Service (AIS) for navigation, and Wireless Avionics Intra-Communication (WAIC) for autonomous communication within an aircraft


  • In 2019, HAPs were back on the agenda, along with Intelligent Transport Systems, and Wide Area Systems/Radio Local Area Network (WAS/RLAN) (high data-rate two-way data communications)

  • Last year, at WRC-23, High Altitude Platforms for IMT Base Stations (HIBS), mobile service for aeronautical and maritime service, and sub-orbital vehicles


WRC-27: The Satellite Conference


With only one IMT item and 80% of issues on the agenda pertaining to satellite, WRC-27 will indeed be a satellite-focused conference.


The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) plays a crucial role in harmonizing the use of spectrum, facilitating interoperability on a global level, and most importantly, addressing frequency issues that extend beyond national boundaries.


However, it is thought that some segments of the mobile community may currently be prioritizing national-level initiatives due to specific regulatory issues or market dynamics in their respective countries. Thus, relieving the Conference – and the satellite community – of those considerations.


A note of caution for the scientific community….


Although the IMT industry is not seeking any new allocations that conflict with the core FSS bands, some of the frequencies they are seeking under Agenda Item 1.7 are being used for other satellite services, namely 7125-8140 MHz and 14.8-15.35 GHz. The former includes allocations to Earth exploration satellite service and meteorological satellite service. The latter is contiguous to passive Exploration satellite service and space research allocations. These overlaps will most likely lead to some intense and heated discussions.


…. and for the aeronautical community


We mustn’t forget to mention the 4400-4800 MHz band (also covered by AI 1.7), which could entail constraints for the aeronautical community and radio altimeters operating in the adjacent band 4200-4400 MHz band.


Opportunities ahead


With so many AIs dedicated to satellite and no AI driven by the IMT industry for core fixed satellite service (FSS) bands, WRC-27 presents a tremendous opportunity for the satellite industry to focus on new allocations and new uses of existing allocations.


As highlighted in our Equitable Access blog, the primary hurdle to achieving equitable access lies in the constrained availability of spectrum.  


To keep abreast of opportunities for satellite at WRC-27, follow our blogs. If you need specific advice on how to incorporate these opportunities into your frequency planning, get in touch with us.


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