Nigeria: ITU Defines Future of Mobile Telecommunications

Technology & Convergence

International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Radiocommunication Assembly has approved new developments for its 3G standards.

The assembly, which met ahead of the Radiocommunication conference which commenced on Monday at the International Conference Centre in Geneva, Swizerland, approved the deployment of a range of voice, data, and multimedia services to both stationary and mobile devices.

Significantly, it opens the door to mobile Internet, catering to demand in both urban and rural markets. The Assembly took a decision of global importance to include WiMax-derived technology in the framework of the (International Mobile Standard) IMT-2000 set of standards.

The assembly formally recognised technology derived from IEEE 802.16 by incorporating it as the sixth terrestrial IMT-2000 radio interface. This is the first addition to IMT-2000 since the original five were adopted years ago as part of the 3G radio standards being used globally and significantly pushes the technological envelope of IMT-2000 capabilities.

IMT-2000 - "International Mobile Telecommunications" - is a global standard defined by ITU in a set of interdependent ITU recommendations, which include the specifications for the radio interfaces of advanced wireless communications systems such as 3G mobile.

An initial application for the IMT-2000 advanced standard was made at the ITU-R WP8F meeting in Kobe, Japan, in January this year. The adoption of the latest radio interface was the culmination of tireless effort among administrations, industry and ITU experts.

"It gives me great satisfaction to observe that the ITU Radiocommunication Sector continues to be responsive to the most pressing needs of the wireless industry in the deployment of innovative technological solutions," said Valery Timofeev, director of the ITU Radiocommunication Bureau. "The successful approval of the two new resolutions and four draft recommendations dealing with IMT technologies represents a pinnacle in the recent technical achievements of the sector."

"WiMAX technology currently has the potential to reach 2.7 billion people," said Ron Resnick, president of the WiMAX Forum. "Today's announcement expands the reach to a significantly larger global population."

According to the global telecommunication body, the new technology will facilitate delivery of broadband wireless services at lower cost and include multiple wireless broadband Internet services, including VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). The specific terminology of the IEEE 802.16 standard in ITU-R M.1457 recommendation is 'IMT-2000 OFDMA TDD WMAN'.

Roger Marks, chairman of the IEEE 802.16 Working Group on Broadband Wireless Access, said, "I am immensely gratified that the international community, through ITU, has recognised the significance of the IEEE 802.16 Wireless MAN standard."

Proposals to the forthcoming World Radiocommunication Conference starting next week in Geneva that will be requesting additional spectrum for the deployment of the IMT 3G-type systems worldwide will take into account the new IMT-2000 OFDMA TDD WMAN standards derived froom the IEEE 802.16 mobile component.

The Radiocommunication Assembly ended its meeting on Friday in Geneva after deliberating for a week on new directions in radiocommunications. Held every three to four years, the assembly deliberated the future direction of radiocommunications, including a new Study Group structure and the establishment of a work plan for the study groups of ITU's Radiocommunication Sector.

A statement from the body said the meeting was chaired by Mr Bruce Gracie (Canada) and assisted by six vice-presidents: Mr R. Beaird (United States), Mr E. Sestacov (Moldova), Mr M. Matsumoto (Japan), Mr N. Kisrawi (Syrian Arab Republic), Mr R. Liebler (Germany) and Mr I. Jazaïry (Algeria). Over 600 participants attended the assembly.

Discussions also covered several areas: the working methods and procedural issues of the Study Groups with review of the ITU-R resolutions that describe the structure, working methods and work programme of the ITU-R Study Groups;

Technical issues which included International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) for which two new draft ITU-R resolutions were approved relating to future studies on IMT

However, since the tsunami of December 2004, attention focused on increasing the effectiveness of telecommunications in emergency situations and in responding to disaster relief. Two new resolutions were approved placing on a sound footing the activities of the study groups on the emergency and disaster management.

(Leadership (Abuja), 24 October 2007)