WRC-23 allocates additional frequencies for providing satellite internet on vessels and aircraft.


WRC-23 Adds Frequencies for Aeronautical and Maritime ESIM Use

December 29, 2023

The World Radiocommunications Conference 2023 (WRC-23) allocated additional frequencies that satellite operators can use to provide satellite Internet connectivity to customers on board aircraft and vessels.  These allocations are intended to meet the need for broadband satellite communications.

The revisions under WRC-23 are expected to take effect on 1 January 2025.

GSO Satellite Frequencies

Operators of geosynchronous orbit (GSO) satellites will be allowed to use 12.75-13.25 GHz (Earth-to-space) to communicate with earth stations in motion (ESIM) on aircraft (A-ESIM) and on vessels (M-ESIM) in the fixed-satellite service (FSS). Prior to this allocation, 12.75-13.25 GHz had already been allocated on a primary basis to the FSS (Earth-to-space), fixed and mobile services, and on a secondary basis to the space research (deep space) (space-to-Earth) service.

Among other conditions imposed to prevent interference with prior users of this frequency band, the operation of A-ESIMs and M-ESIMs communicating with GSO FSS space stations shall be coordinated and notified with relevant administrations and must comply with limits for equivalent isotropically radiated power (e.i.r.p) spectral density and power flux-density (pfd).  Operations of GSO ESIMs in another administration’s territorial waters and/or airspace requires a licence or authorisation from that administration.

NGSO Satellite Frequencies

Operators of non-geosynchronous orbit (NGSO) satellites will be allowed to use 17.7-18.6 GHz, 18.8-19.3 GHz and 19.7-20.2 GHz (space-to-Earth) and 27.5-29.1 GHz and 29.5-30 GHz (Earth-to-space) to communicate with A-ESIMs and M-ESIMs in the FSS. Currently, the 17.7-18.6 GHz, 18.8-19.3 GHz and 27.5-29.1 GHz frequency bands have been allocated to terrestrial services on a primary basis worldwide.  All or part of the 19.7-20.2 GHz (space-to-Earth) and 29.5-30 GHz (Earth-to-space) frequency bands have also been allocated to space services and, in some countries, to the fixed and mobile services.

As there are multiple existing systems using these frequencies, there will be measures in place to ensure that the operation of A-ESIMs and M-ESIMs with NGSO FSS will not cause unacceptable interference to protected services. For example, WRC-23 prescribes e.i.r.p spectral density limits, equivalent pfd limits, pfd limits and other technical specifications applicable to operations of NGSO ESIMs. Operations of NGSO ESIMs in another administration’s territorial waters and/or airspace also requires a licence or authorisation from that administration.


While GSO and NGSO satellite operators providing satellite internet connectivity in the FSS can expand their services using these additional frequency allocations, they should be aware of and comply with coordination, authorisation, technical and/or other applicable requirements to avoid interference and disruption to other existing allocations.

For More Information

OrionW regularly advises clients on telecommunications matters.  For more information about telecommunications law, or if you have questions about this article, please contact us at info@orionw.com.

Disclaimer: This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal advice.


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