WRC-23 Reshapes Global Landscape for Future Connectivity and Space Tech

WRC-23 recently concluded in Dubai, marking a pivotal moment for regulators and industry players in the telecommunications, satellite, and space sectors.

The World Radiocommunication Conference 2023 (WRC-23) recently concluded in Dubai, marking a pivotal moment for regulators and industry players in the telecommunications, satellite, and space sectors.

Over the course of four weeks, representatives from around the world engaged in intense discussions and debates, resulting in the approval of 43 new resolutions and revisions to 56 existing ones. These decisions will have far-reaching implications for the allocation and utilization of spectrum, influencing the trajectory of space and satellite operations in the years to come.

A key outcome of WRC-23 was the enhanced flexibility granted to satellite services, particularly in the realm of mobile satellite terminals on ships and airplanes. Earth Stations in Motion now have authorization to communicate with both Ku-band geostationary (GSO) satellites and non-geostationary (NGSO) Ka-band satellites. This expansion of capabilities enables the provision of broadband services to a broader range of applications, including disaster recovery efforts and remote areas lacking communication infrastructure.

Safety and reliability in communications emerged as central themes of WRC-23, with regulatory actions aimed at updating the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System.

Authorization was granted for the implementation of advanced e-navigation systems to optimize distress and emergency communications for vessels at sea. Additionally, the use of Beidou was provisionally recognized for this purpose, pending successful coordination with existing networks and the elimination of interference.

WRC-23 also saw significant developments in the realm of high-altitude platforms, with three additional identifications for International Mobile Telecommunication (IMT) base stations. These identifications, coupled with regulations for operation in the 2 GHz and 2.6 GHz bands, will facilitate the development of mobile broadband services, extending connectivity to remote areas and enhancing disaster recovery capabilities.

Inter-satellite links were a focal point of Agenda Item 1.17, resulting in the allocation of Ka-band frequencies for space research, space operation, and Earth-observing satellite applications. Measures were put in place to protect terrestrial services, with considerations for both NGSO systems and GSOs used in the fixed-satellite service.

Another significant decision of WRC-23 was the approval of a new primary allocation to the fixed-satellite service in the 17.3-17.7 GHz band in Region 2, covering the Americas. This allocation includes safeguards to protect assignments in other regions, highlighting the importance of international coordination in spectrum management.

Looking ahead, WRC-27 will address a range of agenda items, including discussions on mobile satellite services, equitable access, and unauthorized operations of NGSO. Additionally, studies will be conducted on Equivalent Power Flux Density limits to ensure the continued protection of satellite services.

With 151 member states signing the WRC-23 Final Acts, the decisions made at the conference are poised to shape the future of global telecommunications. While some view these actions as a seismic shift in industry dynamics, others see them as the beginning of ongoing debates and negotiations. As the regulatory landscape continues to evolve, stakeholders must navigate the complexities of spectrum management to meet the growing demands of an interconnected world.