Evaluation of Radio Transmission Technology for Third Generation Mobile Systems (IMT-2000) to Start

30 June 1998

Geneva – Following the successful meeting of the Global Standardization Collaboration Group last month, which provided further support to the ITU’s work for the networking aspects for the third generation mobile systems (IMT-2000), the radio transmission technology (RTT) selection process for IMT-2000 is now quickly moving ahead. A workshop to take place in Seoul in mid-July, will discuss the various RTT proposals received by today’s deadline and consider possible strategies for their evaluation.

IMT-2000 is an initiative of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). It will provide wireless access to the global telecommunication infrastructure through both satellite and terrestrial systems, serving fixed and mobile users in public and private networks. It is being developed on the basis of the "family of systems" concept, defined as a federation of systems providing IMT-2000 service capabilities to users of all family members in a global roaming offering.

This concept, which was endorsed by all the participating standards bodies, aims at facilitating the evolution from today’s regional second generation systems, which are incompatible with one another, towards third generation systems that will provide users with genuine global service capabilities and interoperability soon after the year 2000.

The latest meetings of the ITU groups preparing IMT-2000 radio and network standards were held in Geneva from 27 April to 22 May 1998, at which 300 industry representatives and regulators took part. At these meetings, important results to further progress the work on IMT-2000 were achieved. Among the discussions was the complex issue of defining additional global frequency spectrum required for IMT-2000 as a result of the formidable development of the mobile communications industry in recent years. The next ITU World Radiocommunication Conference, WRC 2000, will be tasked to identify suitable bands for the additional spectrum on the basis of the technical studies that are to be carried out over the next 18 months.

ITU’s 1992 World Administrative Radio Conference identified radio frequency spectrum for IMT-2000 on the basis of the requirements for third generation mobile systems known at that time, but the available spectrum now falls short of the requirements for systems that are expected to be operating over the next 20 years.

The participants also decided on the critical path leading to implementation of IMT-2000. Key meetings have been scheduled for the period 1998-2000 in the United Kingdom, Brazil and China. Representatives of Brazil and China were designated chairpersons of working groups dealing respectively with quality of service and RTT. The present work schedule calls for the key choices of RTT associated with IMT-2000 to be made by March 1999, with appropriate ITU recommendations to be completed by the year 2000.

"The cooperative way in which experts and organizations around the world are contributing to IMT-2000, from design and engineering to evaluation, particularly in the area of radio transmission technologies, was both a good example of healthy synergy and a legitimate expression of ITU’s leadership role," Mr. Robert Jones, Director of ITU’s Radiocommunication Bureau told participants, adding that "such a strong cohesion is good news in fulfilling our commitment to translate IMT-2000 into a reality within the agreed time-frame".

As wireless becomes a major part of global telecommunications, common network components need to be developed which can provide virtually any desired future service combination between wired or wireless access links. On the network side, substantial progress was made with the preparation of ITU recommendations on the framework for IMT-2000 networks and IMT-2000 network functional models needed to speed up the preparation of detailed networking standards required by IMT-2000 systems.

Under the IMT-2000 model, mobile telephony will no longer be based on a range of market-specific products, but will be founded on common standardized flexible platforms which will meet the basic needs of major public, private, fixed and mobile markets around the world. This approach should result in a longer product life cycle for core network and transmission components, and offer increased flexibility and cost effectiveness for network operators, service providers and manufacturers.