World radiocommunication conference 12: reflections on the spectrum policy debate

M Mohamed Ali Elmoghazi Ali, Jason Whalley, James Irvine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Largely overlooked in current debates is the influence of the international spectrum management regime on national spectrum policies. While both were formulised at the turn of the twentieth century to resolve the interference issue and to enforce government control over spectrum, the way spectrum is utilised has changed since then due to two main reasons. Firstly, the Internet’s IP platform has enabled the delivery of different applications on the same device. Secondly, while there used to be enough frequencies to accommodate most of the users, many countries are currently facing shortage in spectrum due to the high demand for data services. This has motivated several countries to review their national policies and to consider two main alternatives, namely spectrum trading and commons. While the former calls for allowing secondary market of flexible spectrum usage rights, the latter is based on managing the spectrum in a decentralized way. With this in mind, this article addresses three of the ITU World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC-12)’s activities in order to show the impact of the international spectrum management regime on the trading vs. commons debate.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-25
Number of pages3
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013


  • radiocommunication
  • reflections
  • spectrum policy debate

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