Frequency allocations and sharing of spectrum top agenda ahead of World Radiocommunication Conference 2023


​​​Radiocommunication experts from around the world met in Geneva for the second of three interregional workshops to review preparations for the upcoming World Radiocommunication Conference, WRC-23.

Hosted by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the workshop held from 29 November through 1 December brought together regulators, regional and international organizations, telecommunications operators, manufacturers, and other experts to review draft solutions for issues on the WRC-23 agenda.

Participants also exchanged preliminary positions reached by Regional Telecommunication Organizations and other entities ahead of the quadrennial global conference.

“WRC-23 profoundly influences the advancement of new and emerging technologies,” said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “These interregional workshops are essential to ensure efficient sharing of radio frequency spectrum, which must also be at the heart of global efforts to accelerate digital transformation in line with sustainable development.”

Building regional and global consensus

During the meetings, UN and international agencies, equipment makers, network operators, and other companies and organizations worked on key preparatory issues for WRC-23, set to take place in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, from 20 November to 15 December 2023.

The multi-stakeholder review of agenda items spanned timely policy and technology challenges, addressing regulatory questions on international mobile telecommunications and mobile broadband, as well as possible updates to frequency allocations for broadcasting, aeronautical, maritime, satellite, and science services.

Issues considered at the workshops are included in the draft Conference Preparatory Meeting (CPM) Report to WRC-23, reflecting studies conducted by responsible groups in the ITU Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R). The report is to be finalized at the second session of CPM-23, taking place in Geneva from 27 March to 6 April 2023.

Mario Maniewicz, Director of the ITU Radiocommunication Bureau said, “I am delighted to inform all our members that our preparation for the next World Radiocommunication Conference has reached an important landmark with the completion of the draft Conference Preparatory Meeting Report which includes the results of all ITU-R studies for WRC-23 as well as proposed ways forward to resolve the issues on the WRC-23 agenda. This achievement highlights the great spirit of international cooperation that marks the ITU tradition of consensus building. We need to continue with this trend to facilitate a successful conference.”

A total of 805 participants from 96 administrations attended this year’s workshop.

Gathering regional insights

The workshop highlighted preparations at the regional level for the second CPM-23 session (CPM23-2), as well as for the Radiocommunication Assembly (RA-23) and WRC-23.

Discussions on the drafts of preliminary common views involved six main regional groups:

– Asia-Pacific Telecommunity

– Arab Spectrum Management Group

– African Telecommunications Union

– European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations

– Inter-American Telecommunication Commission

– Regional Commonwealth in the Field of Communications

Workshop participants also considered the international regulatory framework for the frequency spectrum used by all radiocommunication services worldwide. ​

A session with the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) – held in fulfilment of WRC-15 Resolution 655 – covered issues related to the definition of time scale and dissemination of time signals via radiocommunication systems.

Update on the Network of Women for WRC-23

Another special session of the Inter-Regional Workshop focused on the Network of Women for WRC-23 (NOW4WRC23), an ITU initiative to promote gender equality, equity and parity across ITU-R and to encourage and empower more women to participate actively at the conference.

A roundtable discussion featuring NOW4WRC23 regional co-chairs highlighted the network’s global and regional activities and key priorities, such as increasing the number of women in leadership roles at WRC-23 and calling for more NOW4WRC23 mentors.

About the WRC preparatory process

​Preparing for every World Radiocommunication Conference involves extensive studies and discussions among a variety of stakeholders, from governments, regulatory authorities, network operators and equipment suppliers to industry forums and spectrum users at the national, regional, and global levels.

The multi-stakeholder approach enables consensus-building, essential to foster a stable, predictable, and universally applied regulatory environment.

This in turn lays the foundation for ongoing investments, with the assurance that radiocommunication services will remain free from harmful interference.

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