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3G Americas Embraces Global Coordination of Spectrum Planning at WRC '07
Posted: 30-Nov-2007 [Source: 3G Americas]

[The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) at the World Radio Conference 2007 announced its support of the 700 MHz bands as a core spectrum band for International Mobile Communications, which includes mobile broadband.]

Bellevue, WA -- 3G Americas, the wireless association representing the GSM family of technologies throughout the Americas region, applauds the decision by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) at the World Radio Conference 2007 (WRC '07) supporting the 700 MHz bands (689-862 MHz) as a core spectrum band for International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT), which includes mobile broadband. With numerous auctions and decisions by regulatory bodies throughout the Western Hemisphere in 2008 and beyond, the establishment of core spectrum bands is essential to the continued growth and evolution of advanced wireless services. The 700 MHz spectrum identified at WRC '07 is part of the standardization process of the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) for UMTS/HSPA (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System/High Speed Packet Access) and LTE (Long Term Evolution). Thus, wireless operators will soon be able to utilize the 700 MHz spectrum band for the GSM family of technologies.

"Spectrum is the lifeblood of wireless communications worldwide -- the resource that makes connectivity possible. Careful planning and global coordination of this most valuable asset, such as the work done by the ITU for the 700 MHz spectrum band, will ensure the future delivery of advanced wireless communications services throughout the world. This work is particularly relevant for the Americas," stated Chris Pearson, President of 3G Americas.

The GSM technology family is rapidly growing in the Americas, taking 62% share of market as of the end of September 2007, and is the only technology present in all 46 countries of the region. The third generation of GSM, which includes UMTS/HSPA, is currently commercially deployed on 13 networks in 8 countries of the Americas. Many more launches of UMTS/HSPA are anticipated throughout the Americas in 2008.

ADVERTISEMENT The 700 MHz spectrum band has great propagation characteristics and therefore significant value for the wireless industry. The decision by the ITU identifies 689-862 MHz for IMT in Region 2, which includes all of the Americas, and in nine countries of Region 3 (Bangladesh, China, Korea, India, Japan, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Philippines and Singapore). In Region 1 (which includes Europe, Africa, the Middle East west of the Persian Gulf and including Iraq, the former Soviet Union and Mongolia), the lower 700 MHz band was excluded from IMT operations, starting instead at 790-862 MHz.

Pearson emphasized, "Formal spectrum planning for the Americas should continue, and include 700 MHz as well as the 1700/2100 MHz spectrum band. Governments and regulatory authorities in the Americas should continue to follow a cohesive and transparent process in which an evaluation of the global competitive marketplace is carefully considered. We look forward to the auctioning of both 700 MHz and 1700/2100 MHz in the Americas."

In Brazil, where new 1900/2100 spectrum will be auctioned for IMT services on December 18, 2007, regulator ANATEL has stated its initial opinion to delay the adoption of 700 MHz for mobile wireless services until 2015, when Brazil will have concluded the transition to digital TV. However, because of the ITU's recent decision, it is expected that the majority of Latin American regulators will consider the 700 MHz band for future IMT services.

"While the 850 and 1900 MHz bands have been the primary wireless bands throughout the Americas, there is always a need for more new spectrum. The 1700/2100 MHz bands are important to the region, and because of the WRC '07 decision, we see a positive long term future for 700 MHz as well," stated Erasmo Rojas, Director of Latin America and the Caribbean, 3G Americas.

Frequency bands that are not harmonized for mobile services throughout the Americas may present difficulties, such as the availability of equipment in those bands and the higher costs of additional infrastructure and handsets, as well as interoperability and roaming capabilities. It is desirable that frequency bands be common and consistent throughout the Americas to achieve economies of scale and facilitate roaming. Continued formal coordination at organizations such as CITEL (The Inter-American Telecommunications Commission of the Organization of American States) will allow service providers, application developers and manufacturers to realize the high economies of scale that are essential to the provision of cost-effective services for wireless consumers at every socio-economic level.

"We applaud the ITU for their work in coordinating spectrum and designating 700 MHz as a core band for mobile services," stated Vicki Livingston, Director of Marketing for 3G Americas. "Harmonization will facilitate international roaming while minimizing equipment costs and promoting economies of scale, so that successful deployments of HSPA/LTE will ensure delivery of advanced wireless services around the world."

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