Radiocommunication Services ITU Regulation

Introduction to Radiocommunication Services

At the international level, in Article 1 of the ITU Radio Regulations, “radio” is defined as “a general term applied to the use of radio waves”. In that same Article 1, “radio waves” are defined as electromagnetic waves of frequencies arbitrarily lower than 3,000 GHz., propagated in space without artificial guide”. It should be noted too that in the ITU Radio Regulations, the term “telecommunication” is defined far more widely than the narrower sense more commonly in use. For example, broadcasting is a telecommunication service in the ITU framework whereas in everyday usage a distinction is usually made between these two terms. In the ITU Constitution, “telecommunication” is defined as “any transmission, emission or reception of signs, signals, writings, images and sounds or intelligence of any nature by wire, radio, optical or other electromagnetic systems”. And in the ITU Constitution, radiocommunication is defined as “telecommunication by means of radio waves”.

Radiocommunication is sub-divided into space and terrestrial radiocommunication. Space radiocommunication is defined in Article 1 of the Radio Regulations as “any radiocommunication involving the use of one or more space stations or the use of one or more reflecting satellites or other objects in space”. Terrestrial radiocommunication is defined as “any radiocommunication other than space radiocommunication or radio astronomy”.

Section 3 of Article 1 of the ITU Radio Regulations sets out the definitions of some 40 radio services including such services as the fixed service, the mobile service, the land mobile service, the broadcasting service, the standard frequency and time signal service as well as the definition of radio astronomy which is defined as “a service involving the use of radio astronomy”. Note that the radio astronomy service is not a radiocommunication service but simply a service involving the use of radio astronomy.

Some services are a sub-set of another service. For example, the land mobile service can be thought of as a branch of the mobile service which encompasses the land, maritime and aeronautical mobile services. For many terrestrial radiocommunication communication services, there is a parallel space radiocommunication service e.g., the broadcasting service and the broadcasting-satellite service.

Further sub-sets of some of these internationally defined services are often created at the national level. For example, within the land mobile service, a country may choose to define such services as paging, dispatch two-way radio service, cellular mobile telephone service, trunked mobile radio service, etc. Many of these definitions are based upon the nature of the service being provided rather than the international concept of a radiocommunication service. In other words, the term “service” can be used in these two different ways. No matter what definitions are adopted in a given country, with some specific exceptions which are allowed for in the ITU Radio Regulations, the use of the spectrum must fit in with the international definitions of radio services.

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