New ITU standards signal the start of 3G mobile race

The additional spectrum requirements for IMT-2000 have been approved at the ITU’s World Radiocommunication Conference in Istanbul.

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By  Peter Conmy Published  August 5, 2000

The additional spectrum requirements for IMT-2000 have been approved at the ITU’s World Radiocommunication Conference in Istanbul.

The agreement, which has taken three weeks of negotiations, effectively gives a green light to mobile industry worldwide in deploying confidently IMT-2000 networks and services.

The agreement follows three weeks of tough negotiations in Istanbul from 8th May to 2nd June.

“The entire mobile industry was looking forward to clear signals from this conference to overcome the last hurdle for global wireless systems,” said ITU Secretary-General Yoshio Utsumi.

“This landmark decision now provides a stable basis for investors to back up the industry and gives a clear go-ahead to manufacturers to start building equipment for IMT-2000 for their customers - operators and consumers alike,” he added.

A spokesman close to the Saudi Arabian carrier, STC, told CommsMEA exclusively that he welcomed the agreement.

“This means that we can start planning a new mobile network for the Kingdom that will deliver email, Internet pages and video mobile phone calls at the sort of speeds available from the wireline network, or better in many cases.”

No Constraints

Vino Vinodrai, Director of Industry relations and Research at Bell Mobility of Canada agrees. “This decision on spectrum now gives the assurance to operators that they can start building and deploying their IMT-2000 networks without capacity constraints” he said.

“It definitely marks a major step in the IMT-2000 journey towards the global wireless information society and is a decision Bell Mobility of Canada applauds,” Vinodrai added.

For Tim Hewitt, the IMT-2000 Coordinator for Europe at WRC, “the manufacturers worldwide now know the limits of the frequencies for which the terminals must be designed, within a clearly defined spectrum environment. By having a limited number of globally identified bands, the manufacturers have the best opportunity to reduce costs.”

“Motorola is very pleased with the terrestrial IMT-2000 outcome and commends the efforts made in the spirit of compromise to reach the global objectives of IMT-2000,” said Michael Kennedy, Corporate Vice-President and Director of Global Spectrum and Telecom Policy at Motorola.

“The designation of global bands offers the flexibility that countries want and need in their implementation of IMT-2000 while allowing companies like Motorola to continue to develop ways of bringing low-cost, high-quality wireless Internet to the world,” Kennedy also said.

High Quality

IMT-2000 is intended to bring high-quality mobile multimedia telecomms to a global mass market based on a set of interfaces specified in the ITU standard. The decision provides for a number of bands for countries wishing to implement IMT-2000.

Making use of existing mobile and mobile-satellite frequency allocations, the agreement also provides for a high degree of flexibility to allow operators to migrate towards IMT-2000 according to market and other national considerations. At the same time it does not preclude the use of these bands for other types of mobile applications or by other services to which these bands are allocated: a key factor that enabled the consensus to be reached.

Some industry reports predict that 3G networks will carry traffic from 1 billion of the world’s cellular subscribers by 2010, accounting for US $548 billion or 66% of total cellular revenue.
The additional bands identified for the terrestrial component of IMT-2000 are: 806-960 MHz, 1710-1885 MHz and 2500-2690 MHz. Bands allocated in the past, and which already have been the subject of some licences, will remain.

Around 100 licences are expected to be awarded worldwide by 2002. These will be in the bands 1885-2025 MHz and 2110-2200 MHz. All bands globally identified for IMT-2000 have equal status.

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