New WRC-19 report: areas of agreement and unresolved issues
Jul 04, 2019 by Martin Sims


Tags4.9 GHz, 5 GHz, ITS, ITU, Mobile, S-Band, Satellite, WRC-19 Wi-Fi

With four months to go until WRC-19, what agreements have been reached and what proposals are facing the most opposition? The answers are in PolicyTracker’s new WRC-19 Briefing.

The ITU World Radiocommunication Conferences are very important, setting the pattern for how spectrum will be used globally. National representatives have been in continual dialogue and a lot has changed since our previous report last year.

Based on interviews with the main stakeholders and intensive analysis of key documents the new WRC-19 Briefing identifies and scrutinises the key developments, including:

  • Latest positions on 5G bands in mmWave
  • Wi-Fi at 5 GHz
  • Views on the 4.9 GHz proposal considered under “urgent items”
  • ITS at 5.9 GHz
  • Progress on the acrimonious debate about IMT in S-Band
  • Relaxing restrictions on satellite spectrum usage
  • The current state of play in agreeing agenda items for WRC-23


The WRC-19 Briefing is 46 pages long including tables and diagrams.  It costs £999 for a single copy or organisation-wide access is included in a subscription to our Spectrum Research Service.

You can download sample chapters to find out more or order the PolicyTracker WRC-19 guide online .

Below is the list of key Agenda Items (AIs). These are all covered in detail in this new report, which explains where agreement for has already been reached.

  • AI1.14 High Altitude Platform stations (HAPs)

HAPS, such as balloons or drones, can provide internet connectivity to poor, rural, underserved areas. This AI hopes to achieve this by loosening some of the rules for using various fixed service bands and possibly identifying spectrum for HAPs worldwide.

  • AI 1.11 (Railway trackside communications)

This item is championed by China and concerns harmonising mobile spectrum for railway trackside communications.

  • AI 1.12 (5.9 GHz for Intelligent Transport Systems)

The debate here is whether to identify spectrum for ITS.

  • AI 1.16 (Wi-Fi at 5 GHz)

There is little consensus on this item, with opinion split between outdoor usage, indoor usage, usage in vehicles or no change.

  • AI 9.1 issue 9.1-1 (Coordinating S-Band between mobile and satellite)

This item concerns the imposition of power limits on mobile networks in 2.1 GHz to prevent interference to Mobile Satellite Services in the same band.

  • AI 1.13 (mmWave 5G)

This is the most high-profile AI, considering the huge interest in 5G and the release of some of the bands under consideration in the US, Italy, South Korea and Japan. There is currently strong support for identifying the 26 GHz band and frequencies around 40 GHz for 5G. Positions for other bands are less mature and there is considerable disagreement on how to protect passive earth observation services.

  • AI 1.4 (Loosening limits for the Broadcasting-Satellite service at 11.7 – 12.7 GHz)

In general the satellite industry is seeking more extensive access to its existing frequencies by removing some existing restrictions. This AI is an example of this approach

  • AI 1.5 (Allowing Earth Stations in Motion to operate under the Fixed-satellite service)

Countries and regions have relatively immature preliminary positions on this item, which relates to at 17.7 – 19.7 GHz and 27.5 – 29.5 GHz.

  • AI 1.6 (Allowing NGSOs to operate in Q and V Bands)

This agenda item responds to the new demand for mega-constellations of non-geostationary orbit satellites (NGSOs)

  • AI 7 (Includes extending deadlines for registering NGSO mega-constellations)

This measure would allow NGSO mega-constellations more time to establish and register their services.

  • AI 9.1 issue 9.1-9. (Fixed-Satellite uplinks at 51.4 – 52.4 GHz)

Here the satellite industry is seeking new spectrum rather a relaxation of existing limits.

  • AIs 1.2 and 1.3 (Data Collection Systems for ocean-borne sensors)

These two AIs involving protecting DCSs by upgrading their allocations and reducing satellite emissions.

  • AI 1.7: (sub-1 GHz spectrum for short-duration satellites)

These satellites are often “cubesat” student projects and this item relates to frequencies used to control them.

  • AI 1.8 (Modernising Global Maritime Distress Safety Systems)

An update of the Radio Regulations to take into account new navigational data systems.

  • AI 10, (Agenda for future conferences)

Some proposals were already made at WRC-15, the most important being a study of the 470 – 960 MHz UHF band in Region 1. The GSMA is advocating the study of new IMT bands but satellite operators oppose any C-band identification.

  • AI 9.1 issue 9.1-7 (Preventing unauthorised satellite uplinks)

Here the debate is whether any update of the Radio Regulations is necessary.

Please use this link to order the PolicyTracker WRC-19 guide online.