Web Letter

July 2014

DigiTAG seeks to inform members and non-members about important developments in the digital terrestrial television market. Each month, DigiTAG distributes its web letter with news updates and further exploration of one topic.

To subscribe to the DigiTAG Web Letter, send an email to the DigiTAG Project Office.

Road to the World
Conference 2015



From 2 - 27 November 2015, national administrations representing 193 countries will gather in Geneva, Switzerland to attend the World Radiocommunications Conference (WRC). This conference, held once every four years, takes place under the auspices of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). Its objective is to update the Radio Regulations, the international treaty which governs the use of radio-frequency spectrum and satellite orbits.

However, many of the decisions that will be made at the WRC-15 will be discussed at the preparatory meetings. These meetings, some of which began right after the last WRC ended in 2012, are organized by the ITU while others are organized by regional organisations. In Europe, this task has been undertaken by the CEPT and its 48 members although the European Commission has also given its input through its Radio Spectrum Policy Group (RSPG).

Agenda items affecting the DTT platform

The WRC-15 will review spectrum usage for all frequency bands, including those used by digital terrestrial television. Specifically, the agenda has two items, 1.1 and 1.2 that could potentially impact the DTT platform in Europe.

Under agenda item 1.1, national administrations will consider the allocation of additional spectrum to mobile services on a primary basis. Already, a decision made at the WRC in 2007 has given mobile services co-primary allocation in the band 790-862 MHz(800 MHz band) alongside broadcast services. Now, new frequency bands are under consideration, including the frequencies 470 – 694 MHz which are currently used for the provision of broadcast services.

Under agenda item 1.2, national administrations will examine the results of ITU studies on the use of frequency band 694 – 790 MHz (700 MHz band) by the mobile service. At the WRC in 2012, national administrations in Europe, Africa and parts of Asia agreed to make these frequencies available for mobile services on a co-primary basis with broadcasting but only after the WRC in 2015. However, this allocation is predicated on the results of various studies undertaken by the ITU.

ITU preparatory meetings

In preparation for WRC-15, the ITU organizes two Conference Preparatory Meetings (CPM). These meetings mandate task groups to be responsible for specific agenda items and approve draft text produced by these groups for use at the WRC-15.

The first CPM took place in February 2012 and set up the ITU Joint Task group 4-5-6-7 which is responsible for proposing the draft text for agenda items 1.1 and 1.2. Within the ITU Joint Task group 4-5-6-7, participants from existing ITU-R Study Groups n° 4 (Satellite Services), 5 (Terrestrial Services), 6 (Broadcasting Service) and 7 (Science Services) undertake WRC-15 related studies as requested by CPM.

The Working Party 5D (WP 5D) is an existing ITU group responsible for overall radio systems of mobile telecom systems. However, in preparation for WRC-15, it has been tasked with providing an estimate on the spectrum requirements for mobile telecom services.

At its most recent meeting held in Canada in June, members of the WP 5D were unable to agree on how to address the many critiques to Report M.2290 which makes proposals for the amount of spectrum needed by the mobile telecom industry. While some national administrations continue to support the conclusions of M.2290, others would like the mobile spectrum estimate to be reconsidered.

The ITU also organizes information workshops on the WRC-15, the first of which took place in Geneva in December 2013.


Upcoming ITU WRC-15 related meetings



(IMT systems)

15 – 20
Oct. 2014


WP 6A (Terrestrial
Broadcasting delivery)

10 – 20
Nov .2014


2nd Information
Workshop on

12 - 13
Nov. 2014


Conf. Preparatory
Meeting 2

23 Mar. - 2 Apr. 2015


3rd Information
Workshop on

3rd quarter of 2015


Radio-communications Assembly

26 – 30
Oct. 2015



2 – 27
Nov. 2015



CEPT preparatory meetings

In Europe, the CEPT has also been active in preparing common position among its 48 members. The Conference Preparatory Group (CPG) is responsible for developing briefs, studies, and European Common Proposals for the WRC-15 related to all agenda items. At its last meeting held in March 2014, the CPG decided that any decision to allocate additional spectrum to mobile telecom services as per agenda item 1.1 should be made using a band-by-band approach.

The CPG PTD is responsible for handling common positions related to agenda items 1.1 and 1.2. Regarding agenda item 1.1, no decision has been possible for the proposal to provide mobile telecom services with co-primary allocation in the frequencies from 470 – 694 MHz given the different views expressed by national administrations. This proposal is opposed by Italy and Germany while it is likely to be supported by Finland [1]. While not directly related to the preparations for the WRC-15, the CEPT has set up a Task Group, TG6, to provide its recommendations on the long term vision for the use of the frequencies from 470 – 694 MHz. A first draft of the report has been issued for public consultation.

Regarding agenda item 1.2, CEPT members support the introduction of mobile telecom services in the 700 MHz band and have approved the band plan for its use. As a next step, this band plan is expected to be issued as an ITU Recommendation prior to the WRC-15.  The CEPT band plan for the 700 MHz band consists of a 2x30 MHz plan with a out-of-band emission limit in the broadcasting band set at -42dBm/8MHz for a mobile terminal transmitting with 10 MHz bandwidth. This band plan is similar to the one already adopted in the Asia-Pacific and Latin American regions and it is under consideration in Africa and the Middle East. However, the out-of-band emission limit specified by the CEPT is significantly (by 17 dB) more stringent than the limit specified in the Asia-Pacific region.

The CEPT calls for the DTT platform to be protected in the UHF band below 694 MHz, and in particular channel 48. The CEPT also supports equitable access to frequencies along the national borders between countries.

Upcoming CEPT WRC-15 meetings




1 - 5
Sept. 2014


Conference Preparatory Group (CPG)

23 – 26
Sept. 2014



19 - 23
Jan. 2015

United Kingdom

Conference Preparatory Group (CPG)

3 – 6
Feb. 2015



20 – 24
April 2015


Conference Preparatory Group (CPG)

2 – 5
June 2015



22 - 26
June 2015


Conference Preparatory Group (CPG)

14 – 18
Sept. 2015



European Commission work

The European Commission (EC), through the RSPG, has also begun preparing common positions for its members. In 2013, the RSPG issued a draft opinion on common policy objectives for WRC-15. With this document, the RSPG seeks to assist the EC in formulating EU Common Policy Objectives, offer guidance to members, and identify actions for the EC.

The RSPG recognizes the controversial nature of agenda item 1.1 but also notes the broad consensus on the need for additional spectrum for mobile services. It is currently preparing a report on the long-term strategy for the UHF band. Regarding agenda item 1.2, the RSPG supports the allocation of the 700 MHz band to mobile telecom services on a co-primary basis with broadcasting. It also supports the protection of broadcast services below 694 MHz.




Source: Natalie Mouyal, on behalf of the DigiTAG Project Office

[1] Elsewhere in the world, the proposal to make the frequencies 470 – 694 MHz available to mobile telecom services on a co-primary basis with broadcasting is supported by the United States and Canada but opposed by many African, Latin American, Central Asian and Middle Eastern countries.

About DigiTAG

DigiTAG is an association of stakeholders in the digital terrestrial TV industry and has members from broadcasting, network operators, regulatory, and professional equipment and consumer electronics manufacturing organisations throughout the world. DigiTAG has recently re-launched with new Statutes and the mission of defending and promoting digital terrestrial television on a worldwide basis, and, notably, will work tirelessly to protect spectrum for broadcasting, regardless of the technical standard used on the DTT platform.
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Czech Republic - No DVB-T2 transition before 2021

The Ministry for Industry and Trade has announced that it supports a transition towards the DVB-T2 standard but not before 2021.

This announcement has been made as part of the Ministry's response to a questionnaire from the Radio Spectum Policy Group (RSPG) of the European Commission. The questionnaire primarily focused on the allocation of the 700 MHz band which is currently used in the Czech Republic for the provision of television and radio broadcast services.

Source: Ministry website

EBU report shows LTE cannot replace DTT

The EBU has issued a new report that examines the possibility of delivering broadcast content using mobile broadband (LTE) networks.

The report presents the outcome of the first-ever joint study conducted by broadcasters and the mobile telecom industry that focuses on the capabilities of mobile broadband networks to deliver broadcast services such as linear television. Specifically, the study provides technical information about the performance of LTE eMBMS systems for the delivery of such broadcast requirements as free-to-air television services.

Source: EBU Tech website

Spain - Three months to upgrade 1.1 million SMATV buildings

The government has estimated that approximately 8 million households will need to make adjustments to their antennas in order to continue to access the free-to-air DTT platform.

The government has issued a draft technical plan that revises the frequencies used by the DTT platform. As a result, the DTT services currently using frequencies in the 800 MHz band will be moved to lower parts of the UHF band. This will require an estimated 1.1 million SMATV installations to be re-adapted to the new frequency range.

Source: ADSL Zone

Thailand - NBTC issues framework for DTT coupon programme

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) is preparing to submit its plan for the DTT coupon programme to the government for final approval.

The coupon programme will provide each of the 22.9 million households with BHT 690 (EURO 16) to be used towards the purchase of a DTT receiver. Previously, the amount of the coupon had been projecte to be BHT 1000 (EURO 23).

Source: Bangkok Post

Mongolia - Launch of DTT platform

The DTT platform officially launched in the capital city Ulaanbaatar on 31 July. Throughout the month of August, coverage will be increased to all parts of the city.

Nationwide coverage is expected to be reached by 2016.

Source: The UB Post

Rwanda - Analogue switch-off completed

Analogue switch-off has been completed in Rwanda.

On 31 July, the analogue terrestrial television signals in the areas of Karongi, Muhanga, Ngororero, Rubavu, Rusizi and Nyamasheke were switched off.

Source: All Africa website

Croatia - HAKOM opens tender for regional DTT MUX license

The communications regulator HAKOM has opened a tender for a license to operate a regional DTT multiplex.

The multiplex will use the frequencies from 630-638 MHz and will be known as region-L. It will cover the areas of Zaprešić, Bistra, Dubravica, Jakovlje, Luka, Pusca, Marija Gorica and Brdovec. The license will be valid until 21 July 2020.

Source: HAKOM website

United Kingdom - Ofcom opens tender for local DTT licenses

The communications regulator Ofcom is inviting broadcasters to apply for local service licenses on the DTT platform.

Licenses are available for the provision of local television services in the Scottish areas of Aberdeen, Ayr, Dundee, Forth Valley, and Inverness as well as in the English areas of Carlisle and Stoke on Trent.

Source: Ofcom website

Australia - Freeview Plus to launch on 2 September

Freeview has announced that its Freeview Plus platform will launch on 2 September.

Freeview Plus will use the HbbTV standard to provide broadcast and broadband services. These services wil include a seven-day electronic programme guide, Catch Up television services from free-to-air broadcasters and daily television recommendations.

Source: Freeview Australia

France - CSA against new television services on free-to-air DTT platform

The broadcast regulator CSA has decided against allowing three television services to join the free-to-air DTT platform.

The three television services, LCI, Planete+, and Paris Premiere, had requested a change in business model from pay-DTT services to free-to-air DTT services. However, the CSA has refused this request.

Source: CSA website

Philippines - DTT platform to launch end 2014 / early 2015

The head of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has suggested that the DTT platform could launch at the end of 2014 or in 2015.

However, the amount of time necessary for digital switchover will depend on viewer acceptance of the DTT platform. As a result, it is not yet possible to set a date for analogue switch-off.

Source: InterAksyon website