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No consensus on mobile and DTT sharing sub-700 UHF band

Talks took place as part of one of the ITU's key groups preparing for the World Radiocommunication Conference 2023 (WRC-23)

The latest round of discussions around how and if mobile services and digital television services can exist in the same band have failed to reach agreement.

According to the EBU, the talks took place as part of one of the ITU’s key groups preparing for the World Radiocommunication Conference 2023 (WRC-23).

The group is tasked with preparing for the WRC-23 discussion on the sub-700 UHF band (TG6/1). With no consensus found at its fourth meeting, it has one more scheduled for September 2022. According to the EBU, this last meeting must finalise the elements to go into the pre-WRC-23 documentation – the so-called Conference Preparatory Meeting (CPM) report.

One of the major points of discussion has been around the implications of a mobile service and a DTT service operating on the same frequency channel, and are based on technical simulations and real-life experiences. The EBU cites the idea of two countries sharing a border, where one is using a channel for DTT and an adjacent country wishing to launch mobile services in the same channel.

This could cause disruption for both TV and mobile, as interference from both operating on the same channel can span over very large distances, in some cases up to 500 km. This means that affected DTT channels would need to be cleared before the mobile service can launch, a consequence that also applies to PMSE applications used for audio production, said the EBU. Neither of these applications will be able to share any band with mobile services in a given country. In contrast, PMSE and DTT are able to share frequencies on a geographical coordination basis.

As a representative of public service media, the EBU is one of the main contributors to the ITU process. The organisation said it remains committed to seeking a compromise in advance of WRC-23.