World Radiocommunication Conference 12: Implications for the Spectrum Eco-System
34 Pages Posted: 2 Apr 2012 Last revised: 20 May 2014
Date Written: March 31, 2012
Spectrum allocation is once more a key issue facing the global telecommunications industry. Largely overlooked in current debates, however, is the World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC). Decisions taken by WRC shape the future roadmap of the telecommunications industry, not least because it has the ability to shape the global spectrum allocation framework. In the debates of WRC-12 it is possible to identify three main issues: enhancement of the international spectrum regulatory framework, regulatory measures required to introduce Cognitive Radio Systems (CRS) technologies; and, additional spectrum allocation to mobile service.
WRC-12 eventually decided not to change the current international radio regulations with regard to the first two issues and agreed to the third issue. The main implications of WRC-12 on the spectrum ecosystem are that most of actors are not in support of the concept of spectrum flexibility associated with trading and that the concept of spectrum open access is not under consideration. This is explained by the observation that spectrum trading and spectrum commons weaken state control over spectrum and challenge the main principles and norms of the international spectrum management regime. In addition, the mobile allocation issue has shown the lack of conformity with the main rules of the regime: regional spectrum allocation in the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) three regions, and the resistance to the slow decision making procedures. In conclusion, while the rules and decision-making procedures of the international spectrum management regime were challenged in the WRC-12, the main principles and norms are still accepted by the majority of countries.
Keywords: WRC-12, cognitive radio, trading, spectrum policy, ITU.
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