ACCC consults on competition issues, 5G spectrum allocation

Thursday, 27 February, 2020

ACCC consults on competition issues, 5G spectrum allocation

Competition issues associated with an upcoming 5G spectrum allocation are taking centre stage in the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) recently opened consultation

Communications industry and other stakeholders are being called to comment on the likely demand for 26 and 28 GHz spectrum licences, potential spectrum markets and uses, and any competition concerns around their distribution. 

It follows Australian Communications, Cyber Safety and Arts Minister Paul Fletcher’s appeal for advice on whether limits should be imposed in the spectrum bands’ auction in order to protect and promote competition and, if so, how those limits should be applied. 

Australia’s 26 GHz spectrum band auction could run as early as quarter one next year, under the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s (ACMA) gavel.

Regarded as a ‘pioneer band’ for 5G in the high-band or mmWave range, the 26 GHz segment is expected to support the launch of a range of new 5G-based services, particularly by boosting Internet of Things’ capabilities, according to the ACCC.

“5G spectrum will allow for technological innovation across a variety of sectors, for example in mining, agriculture and manufacturing. It could also provide many benefits to small businesses and consumers in cities and regional towns across Australia,” ACCC Commissioner Cristina Cifuentes said.  

“It’s important that this spectrum is allocated in an economically efficient way, to support the deployment of cutting-edge 5G technologies. But it’s also important to promote competition among spectrum users, for the long-term benefit of businesses and consumers.”

Feedback will be considered along with the government’s communications policy objectives for the 26 GHz band allocation and input from the ACMA. 

Submissions are open until 27 March 2020, with the ACCC to advise Fletcher on the outcomes by mid-May 2020.

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