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» Interview with Mr Mario MANIEWICZ, Director Radiocommunication Bureau, International Telecommunication Union
Interview with Mr Mario MANIEWICZ, Director Radiocommunication Bureau, International Telecommunication Union
We are very grateful to Mr Mario MANIEWICZ, Director of ITU-R, who was brilliantly elected at the ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in Dubai in November 2018, for agreeing to devote this interview to us despite his busy agenda.
The questions to Mr Mario MANIEWICZ Director, Radiocommunication Bureau at ITU.
1-On the eve of the World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-19) from 28 October to 22 November 2019 in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, what do you think Mr Mario MANIEWICZ will be the main issues of this Conference?
There are many important topics on the agenda of WRC-19. Some of the issues with great visibility are those that affect the broadband connectivity of people and things, as for example, International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) – 5G, high-altitude platform stations (HAPS), non-GSO satellite systems and small satellite applications.
2-How has the process been initiated upstream of the preparation of WRC-19 in order to take into account the interests of all the actors involved?
The preparation for WRCs is a four-year process in which the ITU Member States, ITU-R Sector Members, Associates and Academia participate and which is coordinated through national, regional, and inter-regional preparatory processes.
Within the ITU-R Study Groups, technical experts for the radio services concerned with the agenda item in question carry out sharing and compatibility studies to determine whether and how new frequency allocations can protect the operation of the incumbent radio services.
The results of these studies are summarized and presented, along with draft technical, regulatory, and procedural texts, in a Report to WRC (the Conference Preparatory Meeting Report).
In parallel, Regional Organizations consider the proposals of their Member States and reach agreement on their regional proposals that they submit for the consideration of the WRC. ITU Member States may also submit national and multi-country proposals to the WRC.
3-Given the accelerated pace of technological development and the ubiquitous connectivity objectives, what would be the overall radio spectrum requirements that would allow the satisfaction of these objectives for the next twenty years?
WRC decisions aim to last a long time. WRCs’ also determine the draft and preliminary agendas of the next two WRCs, respectively, to ensure that the Radio Regulations are sufficiently stable. The WRC process and approach ensure that they maintain a stable, predictable and universally applied regulatory environment that secures long-term investments in all of the various types of radiocommunication systems operated by both the public and private sectors.
Decisions take into account the technological evolution/trends in all radiocommunication services, the needs of the citizens, and, the improvement in technologies that lead to an efficient use of the radio spectrum.
Some other things that are also taken into account include: the relative societal and economic importance of the service (e.g. its use for safety of life); impact of the new service on existing and future use of the proposed frequency band; government requirements for national security, aeronautical, maritime and science services; the need for a radio service to use particular portions of the spectrum with unique propagation characteristics; compatibility with other services within and outside the selected frequency band; and, the amount of spectrum required for each service.
4-For the deployment of fifth generation mobile networks (5G), apart from the bands already identified and established by WRC-15, WRC-19 will be required to identify frequency bands greater than 24 GHz (24.5-86GHz). In your opinion, how the objective assigned to WRC-19, aiming at the identification of harmonized bands for 5G on a global scale, would be easy to achieve?
During the WRC, representatives of governments and regulators will come together, along with other stakeholders, to discuss the relevant parts of the Radio Regulations and commit to the modifications to the international treaty.
The decisions will take into account the results of sharing and compatibility studies carried out by the ITU-R Study Groups, along with the requirements of both incumbent and possible future users of radio frequencies under consideration. These studies take into account the technical characteristics of all systems involved and determine what is technically and/or economically possible.
This reliable and stable WRC process aims at building consensus; ensuring that in implementing WRC decisions at global and national levels, the radio spectrum and orbital resources continue to be used rationally, efficiently and economically; and that radio stations, whatever their purpose, can be established and operated in such a manner as not to cause harmful interference to the radio services of other Administrations.
5-WRC-19 is the first Conference to deal with frequency allocations for all types of transport: maritime (safety at sea…), air (global flight tracking…), railways, connected cars. For these four components of transport, would a consensus be easily feasible? Would an identification of globally harmonized tapes be sought? Would it be easy to reach through the Conference?
Since the first radiotelegraph convention in 1906, maritime communications have been considered, as well as communications between land and sea. WRC-19 will be no different.
WRC-19 will consider actions to facilitate establishing, within existing mobile service allocations, global or regional harmonized frequency bands to support railway radiocommunication systems between track and trackside, as well as frequency bands to support the implementation of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS). These are not new challenges. Similar decisions were taken by WRC-15 in relation to global flight tracking, which is now being deployed on a global basis with the use of satellites.
6-During the preparatory meetings of WRC 2019, some experts referred to the possibility of harmonizing at WRC-19 the 26 GHz band for 5G on a global scale. What do you think about this?
The sharing and compatibility studies taking place within the ITU-R Study Groups include the 26 GHz band.
Regional groups have expressed their support to consider the studies in the 26 GHz band. Nevertheless, there are other frequency bands that have been thoroughly studied for future mobile applications. It is up to the WRC to take the decisions regarding this and other frequency bands under consideration for 5G.
7-Some countries encourage the use of free frequencies globally such as the ISM band (industrial, scientific and medical), and for this purpose they want to release more license-free frequency for more technologies. What do you think of this request above all that WRC-19 has included an item on the Internet of things (IoT) on the agenda?
WRC does not take licensing decisions. It may, however, decide on the technical conditions that need to be imposed in certain frequency bands to ensure the sharing and compatibility with other services.
The WRC may decide to allocate frequencies to a radio service on a secondary basis, which would require that their applications operate in such a way that they do not cause interference to, nor claim protection from interference from other services to which the band is allocated on a primary basis.
8-The so-called « white space » bands are an important spectral resource for broadband connectivity. The treatment of these bands is solely the internal policy of countries or does the ITU also have a right of scrutiny over the deployment of systems exploiting these white spaces?
While the use of the “white space” bands is a national matter, these systems are often implemented in such a way that they do not cause interference to or claim protection from other services to which the band is allocated on a primary basis.
Report ITU-R SM.2405-0 adopted in 2017 addresses the issues and challenges related to white space.
In considering the technical elements contained in that Report, account should be taken of decisions made by WRC-12 and WRC-15 by which the frequency band 694-790 MHz was allocated to the mobile service.
Additionally, Resolution 235 (WRC-15) invited ITU-R, after the WRC-19 and in time for the WRC-23, “to review the spectrum use and study the spectrum needs of existing services within the frequency band 470 960 MHz in Region 1, in particular the spectrum requirements of the broadcasting and mobile, except aeronautical mobile, services, as well as to carry out sharing and compatibility studies, as appropriate, in the frequency band 470-694 MHz in Region 1 between the broadcasting and mobile, except aeronautical mobile, services, taking into account relevant ITU-R studies, Recommendations and Reports.”
9-Apart from the concerns of WRC-19, the countries of the continent of Africa need more than ever to strengthen their capacity in spectrum management. How ITU can provide such support to enable Africa to also reduce the fracture in frequency management: from planning to control through assignment and coordination.
The ITU has been actively engaged with its Development Sector, including its Regional Offices, to provide assistance, support and training for capacity building in the field of spectrum management, and offer technical and regulatory assistance for the implementation of WRC decisions.
(*): Interview was conducted by Ahmed Khaouja for Lte magazine.