This conference has now taken place. Keep an eye out here for updates on future events!
The 9th LatAm Spectrum Management Conference took place as a fully virtual event on 5, 6 & 7 December 2022.
The event gathered key stakeholders to discuss topical issues relating to the management and coordination of spectrum policy across the region. Attendees had the opportunity to get involved and engage through interactive sessions, networking opportunities, a virtual exhibition area and much more.
The conference is part of The Global Spectrum Series, the world’s largest collection of regional spectrum policy conferences.
With WRC-23 now less than a year away, regional positions both across the Americas and elsewhere are starting to become clear. In the Americas, the most recent meeting of the CITEL PCC.II WG for WRC preparation was held in Trinidad and Tobago last month. This session will look at the outcomes from that meeting, and take stock on the progress of preparation work and studies that has been seen and the challenges that still remain. How can stakeholders throughout the Americas work together to ensure a successful outcome for the region?
5G has now become a reality across many countries in the Latin America region, and others are expected to follow very soon. This session will look at the continued progress that is being made on the journey towards 5G, and at the different approaches that are being seen and expected timelines ahead. It will examine the different approaches that are being seen both across the Americas and elsewhere in the world to meet the ever-increasing pressure for additional bandwidth both for 5G and for other technologies, and look at how the future connectivity landscape may differ from that which we see today.
Frequencies in the mmWave range were the first bands to be released for 5G in the US, with regional licences covering the whole country being allocated across a number of different bands (24GHz, 28GHz upper 37 GHz, 39 GHz, and 47 GHz). Once spectrum became available in the mid-band however, it can be argued that the focus switched for 5G rollout moved away from the mmWave towards these lower frequencies, and taking things a step further, there is evidence that recent trends in Europe and USA suggest mobile deployment of mmWave and integration of mmWave frequencies into mobile handset ecosystem has stalled. Against this backdrop, and with countries across the Latin America region are now starting to consider their own national approach to mmWave spectrum, this fireside chat will discuss the different trends that are being seen in the deployment models and overall demand for mmWave spectrum both in the region and across the world.
There is huge variation in approaches to pricing spectrum acquisitions and renewals that are being seen across Latin America. A number of countries still use legacy practices, which are arguably now not optimal from a social or economic perspective in today’s modern connectivity environment. This session will look at some of the different approaches that are being seen across the region, and at how legacy challenges can be overcome. It will move on to look more broadly at processes that should be used to ensure spectrum prices for both initial spectrum awards and renewals of licences, and at the effect that high spectrum prices can have on consumers and on aspects such as the level of investment and speed of rollout of networks. Where does the best practice lie in setting fair and reasonable spectrum prices?
The Latin America region is a big user of the 3.5GHz C-band frequencies for a variety of different users. It is vitally important for satellite, whilst at the same time many countries have existing FWA licensees in the band. Increasingly it is also being seen as one of the key bands both in the region and around the world for the launch of 5G; and the US’s ‘CBRS’ approach to the 3.55-3.7GHz portion of the band opens up the potential of it also being used to meet some local / vertical needs for connectivity. This session will look at the best approach across the entire 3.3GHz – 4.2GHz range in order to ensure that the needs of all the key users in this band can be met. It will look at the progress that has been made in rolling out 5G services in the band, examine the impact that delays in the supply chain and potential interference with aero equipment have had on this, and look how these needs of IMT can be balanced with the key needs of other users. Looking to the future, given this crowded and now somewhat piecemeal approach that is seen across the band, it will pose the question of whether there is an argument to explore a reorganisation or reconfiguration of some kind across the band in order to ensure the most efficient and valuable usage of the bandwidth that is available.
Discussion in the region around the future of the 6GHz band are ongoing. Whilst some countries have now taken the decision to make the whole band available on an unlicensed basis, many others remain undecided and are waiting for discussions that will take place at WRC-23 before deciding to go the unlicensed route for the whole band or to go for a ‘half and half’ approach, with the lower portion of the band (5925-6425 MHz) available on an unlicensed basis, and then licensing the upper half (6425-7125 MHz). This session will look at the current situation across the region and the future of the band from 2 different angles. It will look at the emerging positions in countries within the region for allocating the top-portion of the band on a licensed and unlicensed basis, and the pros and cons of each approach. Given that the lower portion of the band at least will be made available on an unlicenced basis across the region, it will also look at the work that is being done to develop the technical parameters, power limits and standards to help enable the most efficient and interference-free use of the band.
Closing the digital divide and ensuring that citizens across Latin America have reliable access to fast, reliable and affordable broadband services has been a long-standing challenge for regulators across the region. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to tackling the problem, and a mix of different technologies and connectivity solutions will be required to find a solution and meet the varied connectivity requirements of communities in unserved and underserved areas. This session will discuss the work that is being done across the region to increase broadband coverage, and look at examples of how policymakers and industry stakeholders are coming together to advance the accessibility of broadband in unserved parts of Latin America. With the mobile community stressing the importance of 600MHz spectrum as a ‘coverage’ band to deliver connectivity across the continent, it will look at the progress that is being made in making this spectrum available, and at what can be done to overcome the somewhat slow progress that is being seen. It will also then explore recent advancements in technologies such as fixed wireless access and advanced satellite systems, and the role that these can play in delivering a solution.
Whilst work is still continuing on the rollout of 5G networks in already identified existing spectrum, some attention is already starting to be given to what comes next, and whether there is a need to identifying more spectrum to start out on the path beyond 5G towards the launch of 6G, which is expected around 2030. Whilst initial research around 6G were focussed on the possibilities of Sub-THz and THz frequencies, more recently, attention has shifted more towards 7GHz – 24GHz ‘centimetric’ frequencies, which are now being described by some as the ‘essential’ 6G range. However these bands are already intensively used by many well-established services, and against this background, this session will assess the potential that they could offer in providing large contiguous bandwidth, whether they are a key pioneer band for 6G, and whether it is something that is either suitable or required for the LatAm region. Will these frequencies become the next spectrum ‘battleground’, and what will this mean for the future shape of the range and of the key incumbent users in the band?
Final thoughts and conclusions.
This conference will be held under a Hybrid Format. To ensure the health and safety of our speakers, attendees, sponsors and staff while maximising interaction amongst participants, in-person attendance at this event may be limited.
We will continue to monitor developments around the COVID-19 pandemic, follow recommendations regarding masks, social distancing, and sanitation set out by the venue and local authorities and may revise the capacity limit based on the advice received.
Launched in 2014, and now in its 9th consecutive year, the Latin America Spectrum Management conference is established as the leading platform for spectrum policy discussion within the region.
In the 8 years since it begun, the conference has grown year-on-year due to its positioning as a neutral platform, which ensures all key stakeholders get their voices heard.
Forum Global works closely with national governments and regulators, plus industry stakeholders from mobile, satellite, broadcast, public safety, HAPS and more to ensure that their voices are included.
This event takes places as part of the Global Spectrum Series – the world’s largest collection of regional spectrum policy conferences.
Taking place virtually in November 2021, we were joined by more than 300 delegates. Find more information and catch up on the highlights at the links below.