Broadband  |  2023-11-16

TCCA Calls for Critical Communications Needs to be Met at WRC-23

Source: The Critical Communications Review | Gert Jan Wolf editor

The World Radio Communications Conference (WRC) begins next week in Dubai, running until 15 December.

A key agenda item for the critical communications sector is the review of spectrum use and needs of existing services in frequency band 470-694 MHz in ITU Region 1 – covering Europe, Africa, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Mongolia, and the Middle East west of the Persian Gulf, including Iraq.

TCCA, the global member-led organisation for the critical communications sector, is calling for a co-primary allocation of the frequency band 470-694 MHz to Mobile Service and a subsequent consideration on how this spectrum could be best used by mobile services to help meet the additional spectrum needs of mission-critical users, especially Public Protection and Disaster Relief (PPDR) organisations, for critical broadband communications.

“Without sufficient spectrum these organisations cannot carry out their vital work in protecting citizens, communities, and critical national infrastructures,” said Luz Fernández del Rosal of German federal critical communications network operator BDBOS, who together with Noel Kirkaldy of Nokia leads TCCA’s Spectrum Task Force. “Existing narrowband services for critical communications have dedicated spectrum – this is not the case in most countries when it comes to 4G and 5G networks.”

The additional mobile allocation would allow the critical communications sector to better meet the growing needs for spectrum in response to developing environmental, socio-economic and geopolitical challenges facing governments and societies. It would support the digital transformation of the critical communications sector and accelerate the adoption of greener, more energy efficient technologies enabled through the use of critical communications broadband services, with harmonised spectrum facilitating PPDR cooperation across national borders. 

Frequency band 470-694 MHz has good propagation characteristics for geographical coverage where 3GPP standardised products and services are available, so a critical communications ecosystem is already in place – and the timing of its availability is in line with PPDR transition to broadband, benefiting dedicated, hybrid and commercial deployments.

Spectrum needs for PPDR applications vary nationally between 2 × 10 MHz, as expressed at the ITU Conference Preparatory Meeting (CPM) earlier this year, up to 60 MHz in the frequency band 470-694 MHz.

Spectrum saves lives. TCCA’s full spectrum position for WRC-23 can be read here.

TCCA’s Spectrum Task Force is part of the work of TCCA’s Critical Communications Broadband Group.