The telecommunications sector is expected to see some changes as a result of the World Radio Conference (WRC- 15) which is taking place in Geneva, Switzerland, where Malawi is actively participating as a leader of the Sadc delegation.
Among changes the conference is considering are the introduction of Global Flight Tracking in the aeronautical sector as result of the crash of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 in March this year whose wreckage has not been found.
Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (Macra) Director of Telecommunications, Lyold Momba, speaking on the sidelines of the conference, on Tuesday said the issues are being finalized as the meeting is drawing to a close.
“A number of issues have been discussed and being finalized with respect to the communications sector namely (i) the use of Global Flight Tracking in the aeronautical sector, (ii) harmonisation of spectrum for Public Protection & Disaster Relief, (iii) allocation of spectrum on a secondary basis for amateur services, (iv) identification of spectrum for International Mobile Telecommunication (IMT), (v) consideration of technical and regulatory actions to support existing and future services, (vi) protection of existing services i.e. broadcasting (vii) review of resolutions as well as review of footnotes (ix) agreement of agenda items for the next conference in 2019, and (x) possible allocations for Fixed Satellite Services (FSS),” said Momba.
He said on the technology side, a number of issues have come up as regards the identification of spectrum for International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT), which will facilitate higher generation technologies and the continued development of High Altitude Platform Stations (HAPS) for delivering telecommunication services in areas lacking basic infrastructure.
Momba said other technologies include for Automatic Identification System (AIS), especially with respect to maritime radio communication as well as provision of satellite broad band component and possible deployment of pico and nano satellites.
Commenting on the Google and Facebook plans which aimat delivering Internet to rural communities through the use of unmanned planes, otherwise known as HAPS in two years time, Momba said the initiative is crucial to the provision of services to rural and under-served areas, especially where there is no basic telecommunication infrastructure.
“However, the challenge lies in the identification of the frequency bands for such services so as not to affect existing services that are currently delivering licensed services. It is an area for further review as the identified bands have to be considered as part of ITU-R studies before allocation can be made in subsequent conferences,” said Momba.
The meeting, which started on November 3 and is expected to end tomorrow (November 27), is under the auspices of International Telecommunications Union ( ITU) whose headquarters is in Geneva.
The conference has seen Malawi’s influence grow in Sadc sub region as it is leading the regional bloc team in the discussions.
The meeting is expected to come up with agreements in such areas as the identification of spectrum for International Mobile Telecommunications (IMT) services that will serve most of the growing needs for mobile communications.
The conference is also expected to protect existing services i.e. broadcasting that is in the process of migrating from analogue to digital, simplify the regulatory procedures for satellite networks among other things.
The meeting has attracted participants from all over the world whose countries are members of ITU.
The Malawi delegation to the conference is led by Ministry of Information Principal Secretary Justin Saidi.
Other members are OPC Principal Secretary (administration) Clement Chinthu Phiri, Macra Deputy Director General Francis Bisika and Momba.
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