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WRC-12 modernises worldwide framework for spectrum use in Europe


20 Feb 2012



Copenhagen, 20 February 2012 - The World Radiocommunication Conference 2012 (WRC-12) ended in Geneva on Friday, 17 February after several all-night sessions in its final week where delegates worked hard to reach consensus on an updated worldwide framework for use of the radio spectrum.

The European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT), responsible for harmonising telecommunication, radio spectrum and postal regulations, has taken an active role throughout the four week conference, representing European interests and co-ordinating its members’ positions on many important issues.  

Thomas Ewers, Co-President of the CEPT, said: “This WRC provides us with an updated and clear worldwide framework in which to choose how we arrange the spectrum in a harmonised way in Europe. This is good timing, with the European Parliament's recent agreement of the European Radio Spectrum Policy Programme, which is an important strategic instrument in at least 27 of our 48 member countries.” 

Some of the key outcomes of the conference for Europe are: 

Digital Dividend band (790-862 MHz) – agreement reached on coordination of this band between countries wishing to use it for mobile services and those having deployed an aeronautical radionavigation system. CEPT has been working with the Regional Commonwealth in the field of Communications (RCC) since the beginning of 2011 to ensure that all necessary cross-border coordination agreements needed between RCC countries operating Aeronautical Radionavigation systems in this band and CEPT countries, in particular EU countries, wishing to implement mobile service would be reached before WRC-12. This was ultimately achieved during the last week of the conference with an agreement signed by Romania and Ukraine enabling a successful outcome for one of the most difficult agenda items of the Conference.  This lifts the last big regulatory technical barrier to implementing the digital dividend in several Eastern European countries.

Digital Dividend - an ’extended digital dividend’ at 700 MHz, with technical conditions to be agreed at WRC 2015.  Many Arab and African countries at WRC-12 unexpectedly requested an immediate extended digital dividend at 700 MHz. The CEPT delegation considered this request and, together with other regional organisations, reached a compromise on the issue in order to complete all necessary studies for WRC-15.  CEPT believes that raising the status of mobile radio services in another significant part of spectrum below 1 GHz will widen its options in Europe.  CEPT has to deal not only with the growing appetite for mobile broadband services, but also with the pressing issues of rural access to broadband.  It will now evaluate how best to enable national regulators and operators, and the end-user, to achieve these objectives efficiently, given the continued importance of terrestrial television in many countries, the development of intelligent technologies such as cognitive radio, and the varied situations across Europe. 

Satellite communications – Clarification of the rules applicable to the coordination and notification of satellite networks which are essential for administrations to operate satellites at an orbital position. This major outcome will improve the management of the orbital and spectrum resource going forward and importantly reduce its scarcity. Another major outcome was to guarantee the protection of a frequency band used by Galileo. 

Other clear results in this area are a new worldwide allocation for the safe operation of unmanned aircraft systems and many new allocations and regulatory measures for earth exploration, meteorology and other scientific services which are essential for addressing climate change and predicting natural disasters. 

The CEPT’s ECC put a great effort into preparing for the conference, and coordinating its members' positions during it.  The Chairman of this activity, Eric Fournier, reflected that the hard work had paid off.  He said: “I would like to thank all of the delegates to preparatory group meetings in the last four years, for their ingenuity and willingness to compromise in achieving agreed positions which ultimately give a better outcome for everybody.  I believe we carried this spirit effectively into the conference. I’m pleased to say that the CEPT played a strong role in making constructive proposals to bring together sometimes widely differing views to something that everybody could not only accept, but make use of in their own parts of this ever shrinking world.”

The ECC will publish a special edition of its Newsletter later this week, reflecting on the WRC’s main outcomes as they affect the CEPT area, which covers 48 member countries.  You can subscribe to the ECC Newsletter from our website’s ECC Newsletters page, where you can also access Eric Fournier’s articles about preparations for WRC12 in the January 2011 and October 2011 editions.      




Mark Thomas, Director of the ECO: +45 33896301

Notes to Editors

1.The World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) is an international conference which takes place every 3-5 years to review and revise the Radio Regulations, a legal instrument of the International Telecommunications Union which has treaty status.

2. The European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications (CEPT) is one of the regional organisations recognised by the ITU in its WRC preparations. Within CEPT, the Conference Preparatory Group (CPG) is responsible for the development and adoption of briefs, which include background information, results of studies and CEPT positions, and of European Common Proposals (ECPs) which were submitted to WRC-12 on behalf of all CEPT administrations which have signed them.

3. CEPT is an organisation where policy makers and regulators from 48 countries across Europe collaborate to harmonise telecommunication, radio spectrum, and postal regulations to improve efficiency and co-ordination in the field of communications for the benefit of European society.

4.The ECC is the Electronic Communications Committee of the CEPT, responsible for the CEPT’s preparations for and coordination at the WRC.  Its website is at .

5. CEPT is supported by its Secretariat office, the European Communications Office (ECO), which is based in Copenhagen, Denmark.


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