In-Band Migration [4.3.2]

Different Approaches to Facilitate In-band Migration

The ITU’s World Telecommunications Development Conference held in 2002 (WTDC-02) in Istanbul, Turkey, adopted Study Question 18/2 regarding the “strategy for migration of mobile networks to IMT-2000 and beyond.”  The Rapporteur’s Group of Question 18/2 drafted the Mid-Term Guidelines (MTG) regarding the transition of existing mobile networks to IMT-2000 for developing countries.1  The MTG is intended to provide useful and understandable information for telecommunications operators, policy-makers and regulators from developing countries to make a smooth transition from pre-IMT-2000 networks towards IMT-2000.

Among different aspects to facilitate this transition, the MTG includes an introduction to in-band migration.  The MTG describes two different approaches to implement in-band migration:

Approach A - Firm technology neutrality approach:

  1. Eliminate regulatory limitations on technologies that can be used in the existing mobile bands; and
  2. Modify service definitions to make them sufficiently flexible to allow any type of mobile service (e.g., PCS in the Americas). 

In this scenario, operators may choose the technology, the services to provide, and the timing to launch the technology into the market.  In addition, operators are free to change the technology or even introduce a new one at any point during the term of their licence.

Approach B - Soft technology neutrality approach:

Enhance existing mobile licences to 3G services and identify preferred technologies (e.g., IMT-2000 family).  Although more limited than Approach A, in this case, operators retain the option of selecting the technology to develop 3G services and the timing in which to introduce the technology.

In both scenarios, harmful interference may be addressed by specific technical rules that treat this issue between operators or adjacent channels in the same area.

1 Question 18-2: Mid-Term Guidelines (MTG) on the smooth transition of existing mobile networks to IMT-2000 for developing countries, Version 0.7.6, ITU-D Study Group 2, 3rd Study Period (2002-2006), available at

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