ACMA reveals mid-band spectrum allocation outcomes

Monday, 27 November, 2023

ACMA reveals mid-band spectrum allocation outcomes

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has successfully completed the allocation process for area-wide licences (AWLs) in the 3.4–4.0 GHz band in remote areas of Australia. The 3.4–4.0 GHz band is suitable for a wide range of technologies and use cases, including 5G public mobile telecommunications services, enterprise telecommunications services and private wireless networks.

Suitable for small, localised services as well as nationwide networks, the licences issued by the ACMA are service- and technology-flexible, and scalable to different network sizes and topographies, allowing licensees to roll out bespoke networks suitable for the requirements of the relevant business or organisation. Applications for licences in remote areas were invited in July this year; the ACMA then assessed applications against legislative and policy criteria.

The ACMA revealed that 31 companies applied for spectrum in this allocation — including resource companies, companies providing public and private services, and government organisations — with each company successfully securing spectrum. The licences are set to support a wide range of innovative business cases, including broadband services for remote communities, health and safety applications, autonomous operation and monitoring, and robotics and augmented reality.

Separately to this, the ACMA has announced the outcome of its 3.4/3.7 GHz bands spectrum allocation process. As with the 3.4–4.0 GHz band, this type of spectrum is important for the deployment of innovative technologies and has a wide range of uses, including 5G services.

Of 588 lots available, 574 were allocated to a total of four bidders. The allocation realised total revenue of $721,766,300:

  • Mobile JV won 44 lots of spectrum for $128,194,100.
  • NBN Co won 200 lots of spectrum for $14,384,600.
  • Optus Mobile won four lots of spectrum for $33,539,600.
  • Telstra won 326 lots of spectrum for $545,648,000.

“The revenue raised reflects the market value placed on this spectrum as a valuable public asset,” said ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin.

“The allocation of this spectrum will support digital connectivity, promote competition and facilitate investment in new services for Australian consumers and businesses across metropolitan and regional areas of Australia.”

The licences issued will come into force shortly, with the 3.4 GHz band licences expiring in December 2030 and the 3.7 GHz band licences expiring in January 2044. The full results have been published on the ACMA website.

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