Home / Space News Daily / #SpaceWatchGL Op’ed: A Quick Overview Of Major Satellite-Related Decisions At WRC-19

#SpaceWatchGL Op’ed: A Quick Overview Of Major Satellite-Related Decisions At WRC-19

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Picture courtesy of the ITU.

By Thomas Weber and René Woerfel

The World Radio Convention 2019 (WRC-19) in Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt, befell on 28 October to 22 November 2019. The convention introduced collectively 3500 contributors from the ITU membership representing the world of frequency administration on this planet. The next commentary is a fast overview of satellite-related WRC-19 selections.

New Satellite tv for pc Service Frequency Allocations

There have been a variety of selections for brand new satellite tv for pc service allocations or associated necessities at WRC-19:

  • In-band energy limits had been agreed for Earth exploration-satellite service and the meteorological-satellite service within the 401-403 MHz and the mobile-satellite service within the 399.9-400.02 MHz bands. There are not any limits for 400.02- 400.05 MHz which is restricted to be used by telecommand hyperlinks;
  • A main allocation to the cell maritime-satellite service within the frequency band 1621.35-1626.5 MHz for use for International Maritime Misery Security Techniques was agreed. The band is utilized by the Iridium satellite tv for pc constellation;
  • A brand new secondary allocation to the maritime mobile-satellite service throughout the frequency bands 157.1875-157.3375 MHz and 161.7875-161.9375 MHz to allow a brand new VHF knowledge change system (VDES);
  • An extra allocation for gateway uplinks utilizing the 51.Four-52.Four GHz band throughout the fixed-satellite service.

Deliberate Bands

For the broadcasting-satellite plan in Appendices 30/30A of the radio laws, for ITU Areas 1 and three, there are new utilization prospects for newcomers that may submit a brand new submitting by 20 Could 2020. Nevertheless solely below sure situations: the submitting should have a nationwide protection, it will likely be topic to choice at WRC-23, and the process could also be utilized solely by notifying administrations whose present nationwide allotments reveals a fairly damaging reference state of affairs. Such a brand new submitting is a substitute of present nationwide allotments showing within the Plans 30/30A. For the Appendix 30B – the deliberate frequencies for fixed-satellite service –  some simplified entry guidelines to enter the Appendix 30B record have additionally been agreed.

As well as, a excessive variety of detailed adjustments and amendments within the deliberate bands of Appendices 30/30A (BSS) and  30B (FSS) had been agreed, together with, as examples, clarifications, simplifications, instance PFD calculations, discussing the relocation of take a look at factors, the change from assignments to allotments in case of non-deployment, and alter of service space and many others., to call however a number of.

Milestone Course of for Satellite tv for pc Constellations

For the rising variety of NGSO satellite tv for pc constellations, WRC-19 adopted a regulatory regime commencing on 1 January 2021. Mega-constellations might want to deploy 10% of their constellation inside two years after the tip of the present regulatory interval for bringing into use, 50% inside 5 years, and full the deployment inside seven years. Transitional measures had been agreed to be utilized to satellite tv for pc methods for which the tip of the seven yr regulatory interval is earlier than 28 November 2022. These methods will probably be exempted from assembly the primary milestone after the common two years. In change for this exemption, they’re required to report their present deployment and operational info by 1 April 2023, together with particulars on the standing of coordination, and clear proof for the procurement or manufacturing, and launching of, a adequate variety of satellites.

Additionally referring to satellite tv for pc constellations, a scaling Issue for Article 21 PFD Limits for NGSO mega-constellations (> 1000 satellites) was agreed and also will be additional investigated (an interim rule was established). There shouldn’t be any incentive to separate mega-constellations into a number of smaller filings.

NGSO in Q-Band

A brand new regulatory framework for non-GSO FSS satellite tv for pc methods that function within the frequency bands 37.5-39.5 GHz, 39.5-42.5 GHz, 47.2-50.2 GHz and 50.Four-51.Four GHz was agreed and a associated coordination regime for NGSO constellations has been launched. Present NGSO constellations that are already throughout the notification stage (Article 11 of the RR) at ITU stage are ‘grandfathered’, i.e. exempt from the brand new coordination regime.

Brief Period Missions

A brand new various and simplified regulatory regime for non-GSO satellite tv for pc methods with quick period missions (<three years) not topic to coordination was agreed. As well as, the VHF bands 137-138 MHz and 148-149.9 MHz for TCM hyperlinks of such quick period missions had been recognized.

Earth Stations on Cellular Platforms

To handle the rising want for radio-frequency spectrum for Earth stations on cell platforms (ESIM), WRC-19 selected the regulatory and technical situations below which the Ka-band at 17.7‑19.7 GHz/ 27.5-29.5 GHz can be utilized by the ESIM (on land, on vessels or airborne) speaking with geostationary (GSO) house stations in fixed-satellite providers (FSS). This market development for blurring the standard regulatory boundaries between fixed-satellite service and mobile-satellite service can’t be stopped as seen within the ESIM or UAV examples however was the topic of appreciable debates (particularly with regard to sharing with terrestrial providers) in the course of the examine course of but in addition in the course of the WRC itself as this means a change within the regulatory philosophy.

The CEPT coordination crew at WRC-19. courtesy of the authors.

Unmanned Aerial Automobiles

Regardless of not having an agenda Merchandise and robust particular person efforts to postpone any UAV CNPC[1] through FSS associated work to the WRC-23, all these needing work addressed in Decision 155 (WRC-15) might lastly be completed throughout WRC-19, i. e. the overview of a brand new PFD masks for safeguarding the Mounted Service within the 14 GHz band, but in addition to agree on a brand new agenda merchandise for WRC-23 to lastly overview and revise the decision together with the corresponding footnote 5.484B. As a result of security relevance of this utility, ITU and ICAO[2] are carefully collaborating. Based mostly on the ITU inputs (system parameters, safety standards, limits, and many others.) the ICAO research the hyperlink efficiency compared with its 4 foremost standards: availability, continuity, integrity, and latency. Based mostly on these examine outcomes, technical SARPs, pointers and manuals will probably be created and endorsed but in addition the feasibility and airworthiness of the FSS primarily based CNPC resolution will probably be reported again to ITU forming – along with the ITU examine outcomes – the choice agenda for WRC-23.

Due Diligence Points

WRC-19 agreed to request the following ITU Plenipotentiary Convention in 2022 to debate Article 48 of the ITU structure (army use) with regard to frequency assignments in satellite tv for pc filings for which Article 48 has been invoked. This may occasionally permit the following WRC-23 to debate enhancements within the radio laws with regard to such satellite tv for pc filings.

No settlement was reached at WRC-19 with regard to a time limitation of RR No. 13.6 investigations (as a part of due diligence actions, e.g. when one administration requests cancellation of a submitting of one other administration). A lot of administrations had been in favour of limiting the timeframe of investigations however with none change agreed, the present ‘case-by-case’ coverage is retained.


Another agenda objects of WRC-19 additionally ended up as ‘no change,’ which is the conventional process when not coming to an settlement. This occurred for instance to agenda objects 9.1.three (NGSO procedures in C-band) or 1.three (new EESS main allocation in 450-460 MHz).

Elimination of Inconsistencies, Simplifications and Amendments of ITU Processes

Numerous inconsistencies (or typically actions deemed as ‘pointless’) within the procedures of the Radio Rules had been eliminated or a minimum of amended. Amongst them, simplifications with regard to the processing of API/C and draft CR/D publications, or for 40-40.5 GHz the place a lacking PFD Restrict for MSS in desk 21-Four was launched; but in addition many different small amendments within the radio laws as a part of the work of the convention primarily based on the reporting from the ITU director or the Radio Rules Board of the ITU.

Satellite tv for pc community notifications sooner or later can use extra detailed info on a per-satellite community foundation, not solely on a country-by-country foundation. This may permit improved prospects for profitable notifications (inclusions into Half II-S). This transformation relies on enhancements launched within the software program utilized by the ITU enabling the radio bureau to do extra detailed investigations.

Lastly, as requested by a number of administrations on the WRC-19, the convention agreed to supply grants for particular satellite tv for pc networks, largely to increase the regulatory interval for associated satellite tv for pc networks. Requests from Intelsat, India, China (for ASIASAT), Bulgaria, Egypt, Cyprus, and Indonesia obtained constructive responses.

A novelty on the WRC-19 was the excessive variety of proposals for topics for future radio conferences. This pressured the WRC-19 to not solely agree on the agenda for WRC-23 but in addition to conform to a preliminary draft agenda for WRC-27. The record of satellite tv for pc points for WRC-23 consists of: sub-orbital house/plane; VHF aeronautical cell through satellite tv for pc; an FSS UAS overview; GMDSS e-navigation; spaceborne radars; the SRS at 15 GHz; EESS imagers at 242 GHz; Ku ESIM GSO; Ka ESIM non-GSO; ISS Ka-band; narrowband MSS extra spectrum; FSS at 17 GHz; house climate sensors; EESS 36-37 GHz; and examine and amend ITU suggestions together with unrealistic antenna parameters;  overview safety of GSO satellite tv for pc networks from NGSO satellite tv for pc constellations within the army X-bands, and army Ka-bands.


Filings for frequency assignments to NGSO satellite tv for pc methods composed of lots of to hundreds of satellites have been obtained by the ITU since 2011, specifically in frequency bands allotted to fixed-satellite providers (FSS) or mobile-satellite providers (MSS). It stays to be seen whether or not the present and traditionally pushed coordination and notification processes on the ITU can efficiently take care of this excessive variety of NGSO satellites. Among the coordination (or, extra to the purpose, non-coordination) processes might have to be revised. Is the present satellite tv for pc coordination course of for mega-constellations with tens of hundreds of satellites workable? We expect not. There’s a tendency to postpone the decision of some challenges so long as they aren’t completely evident, e.g. it’s uncertain that warehousing of frequencies has been considerably restricted at WRC-19. Subsequently, the satellite tv for pc coordination procedures should additional evolve in future conferences to adapt to the brand new wants or introduce extra stringent coordination the place wanted, resembling higher safety of GSO satellites from NGSO emissions in some frequency bands.

The enhancements for newcomer international locations which don’t have a single satellite tv for pc in house within the deliberate BSS or FSS frequency bands is actually a step into the suitable course, although the effectiveness and financial feasibility of the strategy is questionable. It may very well be thought to be ‘too little and too late’ since massive gamers have already taken over these satellite tv for pc plans with many satellite tv for pc filings with worldwide coverages.

The rising demand for terrestrial cell providers (‘5G’) places some satellite tv for pc providers below strain resembling EESS or FSS in C-band, whether or not it’s for meteorological observations or another change course of on this planet. Will probably be necessary for regulators to clarify that these satellite-based providers are within the pursuits of societies and that they deserve ample safety.

Mr. Thomas Weber (Federal Community Company) re-joined the Federal Community Company frequency administration originally of 2019 and is liable for satellite tv for pc coordination issues. He was with the European Communications Workplace of the CEPT in 2010-2018 as knowledgeable for spectrum administration and chairman of the WG FM Upkeep Group on Brief Vary Units (SRD/MG). He handled many frequency administration venture groups within the CEPT coping with spectrum monitoring, PMR/PAMR, satellite tv for pc providers, direct-air-to-ground communications and the European Widespread Allocations Desk. Earlier than that, he labored for the Federal Community Company in Germany in 2001-2010 and was the chairman of a number of ETSI standardization teams coping with ITS, PMR, DMR, GSM-R and UWB in addition to the chairman for the DIN/DKE German Nationwide standardization committee on radio units. He has additionally labored for a number of years for a number of satellite tv for pc operators and within the satellite tv for pc communications trade.

Mr. René Woerfel is a Associate and Senior Marketing consultant of AUDENS Telecommunications Consulting GmbH for all points of satellite tv for pc communications initiatives, particularly on the end-to-end communications efficiency and for frequency coordination / frequency administration points on nationwide and worldwide stage. For additional info please see: www.audens.de.


[1] Management and non-payload communications.

[2] Worldwide Civil Aviation Authority.

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