Minutes of the second meeting of the CEE Regional WG
Bucharest, 29-30 March, 2012
The second meeting of the CEE Regional Working Group took place in Bucharest, on 29 March 2012, at the invitation of the Romanian Regulatory Authority, ANCOM.
Participants: representatives of APEK, CTU, HAKOM, NMHH, AEC, ANRCETI, CNFR, EKIP, ANCOM, RATEL, AKEP, joined by the Ministry of Infrastructure, Transport and Networks of Greece and the Ministry of Innovation and ICT of Albania.
Mr. Cătălin Marinescu, President of ANCOM, opened the meeting. He welcomed all participants and provided a brief information on the meeting scope and structure.
The guest of honour of the meeting, Mr. François Rancy, Director of the Radiocommunication Bureau of the ITU, addressed the opening speech, stating that the switchover process is under everyone's attention and has triggered intense activities worldwide, also in the light of the recent WRC-12. It also asks for a better coordination than that achieved so far. TV broadcasting is exposed to several factors, politics included, while the very nature of terrestrial broadcasting involves interferences that need to be solved, therefore we all need to work together on this matter. Mr. Rancy expressed his appreciation for this regional initiative, reminding that the ITU also has its regional initiatives and is always ready to assist the member states in their efforts towards harmonisation.
The representative of ANCOM in the CEE RWG, Dr. Nicolae Oacă, welcomed the participants and expressed thanks on behalf of ANCOM for answering the invitation to this second meeting. He announced that 15 countries have been invited, 11 of which participate in the meeting.
Dr. Oacă submitted the draft agenda to the attention of the meeting, stressing that it has also been previously consulted by e-mail. Since no changes were required, the agenda was adopted.
As for the management issues of the CEE Regional Working Group, Dr. Oacă suggested the acceptance of a new member, Greece, and all participants agreed, without objections. Also, he mentioned that representatives of the Czech Republic have been invited to attend the meeting, upon agreement of the group members.
The participants then entered the seminar on mobile communications spectrum harmonisation. At first, in order to draw a map of the region at the present moment, each country presented its current status, on three levels:
- the timeframe of the digital switchover the availability of frequencies above channel 60;
- the timeframe for licensing new bands (800&2600 MHz) for mobile communications;
- LTE usage in the 900/1800 MHz bands.
The actual data have been listed in a table, Annex to these Minutes.
The second session of the meeting, moderated by Mr. Željko Tabaković (HAKOM) started with a key presentation by the Director of the Radiocommunication Bureau on the need to harmonise the 700/800 MHz and 2600 MHz bands. The participants then discussed on the subject and shared ideas bearing in mind the outcome of WRC-12.
The next session allowed for the presentations, by Ms. Ivančica Sakal (HAKOM) and Mr. László Pados (NMHH), of the principles to be embedded in a spectrum harmonisation agreement, taking into account the Croatian and Hungarian experience in this matter. Mr. László Pados in his presentation gave some further information about the principles of the coordination agreements. Based on these principles, the meeting was then presented with two draft agreements, one for the 700/800 MHz band and one for the 2600 MHz band. The countries were required to express their views on the need to sign such an agreement:
Albania: required some time for analysis, at least until Q2 2012;
Czech Republic: not interested, as they have already signed such agreement; Greece: required some time for analysis, at least until Q2 2012;
Hungary: ready to sign, even if by correspondence; mentioned that Ukraine will not be able to join this agreement since they have other technologies in place;
Macedonia: ready to sign; Republic of Moldova: required some time for analysis: until Q2 2012 for the 2600 MHz band and until Q4 2012 for the 800 MHz band;
Montenegro: required some time, at least until the half of 2012 for the 2600 MHz band and until the end-2012 for the 800 MHz band;
Romania: ready to sign such an agreement with neighbouring countries;
Republic of Serbia: the band is currently in use; they are available to comment on the draft, but are not in a position to sign such agreement until the national frequency table is finalised and the band released;
Slovenia: does not need to sign, as they have already signed such agreement with the neighbouring countries.
Mr. Marinescu (ANCOM) mentioned the possibility that the CEE RWG countries could perhaps join the agreement already concluded, as an alternative to the signing of the separate agreement initially proposed to this meeting. Some countries (Croatia, Hungary) expressed their arguments in favour of a separate agreement for the CEE RWG.
Dr. Oacă concluded by suggesting a meeting by the end-2012, dedicated to signing a separate agreement by the parties who expressed their interest at this point, while the other countries may join later, when deemed convenient.
The last session of the meeting allowed for two presentations:
- Mr. Péter Vári (NMHH), on the most important decisions of WRC-12 and their impact on the development of mobile services; and
- Mr. Mario Weber (HAKOM), on the long term strategy "Looking to the future project" aimed at reshaping the Croatian electronic communications.
At the end of the session, Mr. Marinescu (ANCOM) expressed his hope that the works and discussions proved useful and reminded the issues where agreement has been reached. The spectrum coordination agreements presented were intended as a model that could be replicated in our region. The actual signing would better take place in several steps, depending on the geographical positioning of the countries and their national specificities. Also, the digital plan after RRC-06 should undergo a reshaping process and, in the medium term, the spectrum above 694 MHz (above channel 49) should be released. The CEE RWG may consider starting to work in this direction, in an informal manner.
In his conclusions, the Director of the Radiocommunication Bureau stated that there is a pressing need for frequency coordination in accordance with GE-06. He encouraged the countries in our region to take into account the experience of Western Europe in establishing an informal platform for discussions. Bearing in mind the extensive assistance ITU offered to the member states in Africa, the Caribbean, Asia, the RCC region or to the Arab states, Mr. Rancy reiterated the ITU openness towards assisting the countries in this part of Europe, at any given moment. Results can be obtained, the importance of rapid discussions must not be underestimated and, as long as this group has been established and is operational, discussion may very well be extended outside the group, with a view to speed up harmonisation in our region.
Mr. Marinescu thanked all participants and officially closed the meeting.