5G in fixed bands: how did we get here and where are we going?
Apr 23, 2020 by Spectrum Research Service Blog


1992 was an eventful year. The Cold War officially ended, NAFTA was signed, and the World Administrative Radio Conference (WARC-92) identified the 1980 – 2010 MHz and 2170 – 2200 MHz bands for both the satellite and terrestrial components of Future Public Land Mobile Telecommunication Systems.

These agreements were somewhat undone in the last few years: geopolitical tensions have re-emerged, for example, and North American leaders agreed to “abolish” NAFTA in 2018.

The FPLMTS identification became re-branded as an IMT identification, but the difficulties of doing this in frequencies allocated to the Mobile Satellite service have continued to dog spectrum managers. Thanks to some heroic efforts, last year’s World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-19) appeared to find a technical compromise that avoided stranding current assets in the band under agenda item 9.1 issue 9.1-1.

But while WRC-19 delegates finally found solutions to this thorny issue, delegates in another room were sowing the seeds of another tricky concept, consideration of IMT in fixed bands at WRC-23. This raises some complicated questions relating to the technicalities of coexistence and the processes used to identify specific bands for study, and policy questions about the meaning of Radio Regulation allocations.

A last-minute amendment at WRC-19’s plenary saw an explicit mention of 10.7 – 11.7 GHz band dropped from the Resolution, but the item is nevertheless bound to have delegates scratching their heads for many hours in the coming years.

In a new research note, we explain how this happened, what this means, and how it might be resolved.

The note is available to Spectrum Research Service subscribers here.

By Toby Youell