Spectrum trading to improve

Tuesday, 25 January, 2011

The ACMA is implementing some measures to remove regulatory barriers to spectrum trading and leasing, and to provide better information to radiocommunications users.

"The continual evolution of wireless technologies and the rapidly growing demand for spectrum make it critically important that spectrum markets work efficiently so Australia gets the greatest benefit from this important resource," said ACMA chairman Chris Chapman.

The ACMA began a review of spectrum trading in late 2008, seeking comments from stakeholders on the effectiveness of the secondary market for radiofrequency licences in Australia.

Following consultations, the ACMA released a response to submissions in 2009 and has been implementing the changes foreshadowed in that response.

As a result of the review of spectrum trading, the ACMA:

  • Notes that stamp duties on spectrum trades are to be removed by 1 July 2013;
  • Is committed to reducing regulatory burdens on trading spectrum by introducing an online system to replace the paper-based system for registering licence trades and transfers;
  • Has begun a voluntary registration of third-party authorisations with a view to providing the market with more information;
  • Is improving the usability of the ACMA website;
  • Is developing a policy of renewal of apparatus licences to provide greater certainty for licensees;
  • Is developing a trading page on the ACMA website to provide the market with better information on licence trades and transfers;
  • Is committed to reducing the technical restrictions on partial trades of spectrum licences as the new technical frameworks are developed;
  • Is consulting on a proposal to remove the requirement for a mandatory 'revoke at will' clause in third-party authorisations.

On this last point, the ACMA is seeking comments on alternative approaches to the current mandatory 'revoke at will' clause in third-party authorisations. It was introduced 10 years ago to protect the regulator from being involved in legal disputes.

After considering industry views, the ACMA says that the costs of the application of this clause outweigh any potential benefits to the regulator.

The consultation paper on third-party authorisations is available on the ACMA website: www.acma.gov.au.

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