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Mobile broadband needs more spectrum soon, says UMTS Forum

by david.nunes

Mobile broadband needs more spectrum soon, says UMTS Forum


New White Paper urges ITU to identify further bands at next World Radiocommunication Conference


24 January 2012, Geneva: At the start of this year’s World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-12), the UMTS Forum argues that additional spectrum must be urgently identified and allocated to support growth in mobile data.


As non-voice traffic grows explosively over the next decade, the mobile industry association warns that operators face increasing challenges to add capacity and coverage to their existing networks. As the efficiency of broadband cellular technologies rapidly approaches theoretical limits, the UMTS Forum warns that the gap between demand for media-rich mobile services and available network capacity will increase sharply in the coming decade.


In its most recent projections (Report 44, Mobile traffic forecasts 2010-2020), the UMTS Forum has calculated that mobile data traffic will grow by a factor of 33x during the decade to 2020. This growth is even more pronounced in Western Europe, where the same study forecasts that data traffic will leap by a factor of 67x in the same 10-year period.


Investment in new technologies and network density alone cannot address this dramatic increase in demand that is widely echoed by numerous other industry forecasts. To sustainably deliver the full socio-economic promise of mobile broadband, it is therefore clear that advances in technology and investment must be complemented by timely availability of harmonised radio spectrum to support new services and more users.


To address this challenge, proposes the UMTS Forum, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) can exercise its global leadership position by putting IMT spectrum high on the agenda at the next World Radiocommunication Conference in 2015.


In its new White Paper titled ‘Spectrum for future development of IMT-2000 and IMT-Advanced’, the UMTS Forum urges the ITU to examine spectrum requirements for IMT, prior to timely identification of further bands. Specifically, it is recommended that:


  • The World Radiocommunication Conference 2012 (WRC-12) should adopt an Agenda Item for the WRC-15, allowing the identification of additional IMT spectrum;
  • The ITU Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R) should conduct during the next study period (between WRC-12 and WRC-15) thorough studies on future IMT spectrum requirements;
  • The ITU should urge countries to coordinate their actions in order to harmonise IMT spectrum both before and during the WRC-15.


“Currently, there just isn’t enough spectrum to support the projected growth of mobile data”, states UMTS Forum Chairman Jean-Pierre Bienaimé. “The continuing growth of mobile broadband clearly relies on the identification of additional IMT spectrum”.


“The ITU has a unique leadership role to play in identifying this urgently needed spectrum and securing its timely harmonisation”, continues Bienaimé. “The UMTS Forum thus appeals to ITU leadership to exercise its mandate and ensure a robust study structure that will support this ambitious but vital task.”


The new UMTS Forum White Paper ‘Spectrum for future development of IMT-2000 and IMT-Advanced’ is available FREE at http://bit.ly/xrzmNR


About WRC-12

Taking place in Geneva from 23 January-17 February 2012, the World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-12) is a key event for everyone with an interest in the global allocation and use of radio spectrum.


WRC-12 is held by Radiocommunication Sector of the ITU (ITU-R): the body that leads standards and spectrum arrangements for mobile broadband services – both today and tomorrow. World Radiocommunication Conferences are held every three to four years. It’s the remit of each WRC to review and, as necessary, revise regulations that govern the use of radio-frequency spectrum for communication and other purposes.


WRC-12 features on its agenda a number of items relating to the current and future use of radio spectrum for communications – specifically IMT-2000 and IMT-Advanced (“4th Generation”) mobile broadband systems.



Mobile broadband is changing the way the world communicates. The UMTS Forum helps all players in this dynamic new value chain understand and profit from the opportunities of 3G/UMTS networks and their Long Term Evolution (LTE).


The UMTS Forum participates actively in the work of the ITU, EC, ETSI, 3GPP and CEPT as well as other technical and commercial organisations globally. It also contributes to the timely licensing and deployment of mobile broadband globally through regular dialogue with regulators and responses to public consultations.


The UMTS Forum supports the interests of its membership with a range of studies, reports and other outputs. Principal focus areas include markets trends, mobile broadband services and applications, key growth markets, spectrum & regulation, technology & implementation. A strong promotional voice is maintained via a high-profile presence at conferences, seminars and workshops as well as regular briefings to the media, analysts and other stakeholders.


Membership of the UMTS Forum draws together everyone with an interest in mobile broadband, including network operators, regulators and the manufacturers of network infrastructure and terminal equipment.


For more information:

Chris Solbé

UMTS Forum Press Office

Tel: +44 7956 388798

E-mail: press@umts-forum.org

Web: www.umts-forum.org

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