Podcast: What are the biggest challenges for IMT at WRC-23?

In the coming weeks, PolicyTracker podcasts will deal with the most contentious issues of WRC-23. Our first episode features Martin Fenton, director of spectrum analysis at UK regulator Ofcom and chair of ITU-R Study Group 5.

| Laura Sear

In this special WRC-23 podcast episode, Martin Fenton tells PolicyTracker‘s Laura Sear what has been happening this week in Dubai at the Radiocommunication Assembly; how it affects the next ITU-R study cycle; and who will chair the WRC-23 committees and plenaries.

“Representatives of member states will chair the committees at WRC-23,” he says. “They try to get a regional balance to chair these committees so that Europe, Africa or another region doesn’t dominate. They try to even it out as much as they can.”

Fenton then discusses the three most controversial agenda items (AIs) of the upcoming conference:

  • AI 1.2—the upper 6 GHz band
  • AI 1.5—the future of the UHF band
  • AI 10—future IMT bands

He explains why the upper 6 GHz band is of such importance for Region 1 (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) and what the challenges are for potential mobile services in the lower UHF bands.

“We’re working the spectrum much harder than 20 years ago,” says Fenton. “It’s becoming much more difficult to find additional spectrum bands for services such as mobile.”

“In previous years it’s been a cycle of identifying a band at WRC, clearing a band of existing services by a national administration that wants to use it for mobile, and then awarding the spectrum—typically in an auction,” he adds. “That has become much more difficult because where will those existing services migrate to if there is nowhere else to go?”

You can listen to the new podcast below. It can also be found on all major podcast platforms. You can also read more about IMT-related agenda items at WRC-23 in the relevant part of our updated WRC-23 dossier.


By | Laura Sear
Laura is the in-house journalist at PolicyTracker, who focuses on spectrum policies in Europe. She has previously written for The Guardian, Deutsche Welle and several Belgian publications such as the VRT and Knack. Laura is fluent in English, Dutch and French and has a master's degree in International Journalism from City University of London.
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