Advanced Television

Mobile industry wasting spectrum

October 8, 2014

A report from LS Telecom reveals a mobile and wireless industry that is driving hard to gain access to C-Band and other satellite frequencies for expansion of its services while leaving 30 per cent of its existing allocated spectrum unused in most regions of the world.

In filings and presentations to national regulators in the run-up to the World Radiocommunications Conference of 2015 in Geneva, mobile industry lobbyists are seeking to open portions of the satellite spectrum for sharing with terrestrial transmitters.  The strength of terrestrial transmitters compared with signals from orbiting satellites, however, ensures that satellite services would be overwhelmed by terrestrial interference, taking valuable services off the air from television to Internet access and aviation, education and disaster response.

“That is a drastic solution to a problem that – according to the last research – may not even exist,” said WTA executive director Robert Bell.  “The global teleport industry will continue to depend on satellite frequencies to deliver high-value services on which television, Internet, government services and civil society depend.  Before taking vital services off the air, it behoves the mobile and wireless industry to make full use of frequencies that it has already been allocated.”

The LS telcom findings, which are also attracting the attention of governments throughout the world, arose from a recent study concerning worldwide licensing and usage of spectrum for International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT). The analysis discovered that in most regions of the world at least 30 per cent of spectrum for IMT services is not yet licensed.  From within that which is licensed almost a quarter is not yet in service, the situation being worse for TDD spectrum than FDD spectrum.

Among other figures, the study finds the following:

  • Most countries have at least another 150 MHz of additional IMT spectrum from within that which is regionally harmonized.
  • Almost every country has at least another 200 MHz of spectrum that is more widely recognized as being usable for IMT.
  • 700 MHz spectrum still remains to be licensed in most parts of the world and the 2600 MHz bands, which represent nearly 200 MHz of IMT spectrum, remain to be licensed virtually everywhere with the exception of Europe.

Richard Womersley, Director of Spectrum Consulting at LS telcom and author of the study concludes that “there is clearly a need for regulators to push forward with the licensing of remaining IMT spectrum, and for operators to put their entire licensed spectrum into use before further spectrum is identified for IMT services at WRC-15.”

LS telcom analysed the licensing data of over 90 countries and the responses by 20 regulators to a survey on the use of licensed IMT spectrum. This data has been compared to the amount of spectrum that should be easily licensed as it is theoretically harmonised and to the amount of spectrum identified for IMT which could be licensed and put to use.

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