ACMA concludes third round of 5G mmWave spectrum auctions

Australia’s statutory authority for communications has concluded a third round of 5G mmWave spectrum auctions, allocating space for the 3.4GHz to 3.8MHz ranges.

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3.4GHz, 3.8GHz bands sold.
Photo: INC42
5G continues to reach its ‘full potential’.

MORE 5G AUCTIONS

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has concluded a new reallocation of 5G mmWave frequencies in the 3.4GHz and 3.8GHz bands for services.

ACMA, the Australian government’s statutory authority for communications, has granted use of these spectrums to the highest bidders, with 29 public submissions to the consultation.

The official government declaration covers the following frequencies:

  • 3400 MHz to 3425 MHz
  • 3425 MHz to 3442.5 MHz
  • 3475 MHz to 3492.5 MHz
  • 3492.5 MHz to 3510 MHz
  • 3510 MHz to 3542.5 MHz
  • 3542.5 MHz to 3575 MHz
  • 3700 MHz to 3750 MHz
  • 3750 MHz to 3800 MHz

During this process, ACMA has profited enormously from the sale of 5G licences, adding to the billions of dollars already made from spectrum license sales of previous generations and other frequency bands.

Interestingly, the focus of this round is improved availability to remote regional areas:

Spectrum auctions in regional areas and will cover the 3400-3442.5MHz band, the 3475-3575MHz band, and the 3700-3800MHz band in both regional and metropolitan areas.

Under what it calls “urban excise”, some frequencies in the 3400-3475MHz band won’t be available in the spectrum auction, in some metropolitan areas.

That spectrum will instead be available for equipment licences, to support wireless broadband services.

During the consultation, the aviation sector and the space sector have both expressed concern at what they perceive as a threat to their use of spectrum from the telecommunications industry.

Satellite operators asked the ACMA to protect C-band frequencies currently used for satellite services.

The aviation sector, meanwhile, fears 5G base stations could interfere with radio altimeters in aircraft.

Declarations are set to cover: Adelaide, Albury, Ballarat and Bendigo, Brisbane, Cairns, Canberra, Hobart, Launceston, Melbourne, Quirindi East, Quirindi West, Rockhampton, Sydney, Toowoomba and Townsville, as well as regional NSW, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria, Western Australia, and regional Australia.

The auction is the third wave of sales held since the beginning of 2021.

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PRIOR CONSULTATIONS

The ACMA conducted the 26 GHz band spectrum auction in April 2021, starting on 12 April 2021 and ending on 21 April 2021. A total of 15 applicant companies were offered a license in the 26 GHz and 28 GHz bands.

The 26 GHz band is a pioneer mmWave spectrum band, optimised for the delivery of 5G services.

Of the 360 lots available in the auction, 358 were sold, raising a total revenue of  $647,642,100.

Next up, at the end of 2021, the 850/900 MHz band spectrum auction started on 30 November 2021 and finished on 6 December 2021.

Two companies, Optus and Telstra, won spectrum in the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s (ACMA) latest spectrum auction. All 16 lots available were allocated.

The allocation realised a total revenue of $2,091,618,000, equivalent to almost $1.21/MHz/pop.

Indeed, 5G still has not reached its full potential in Australia, with the current generation (4Gx enhanced) mainly a launching pad for more power and efficiency once spectrums are allocated completely.

From this point, concerns about 5G (such as powerful mass surveillance capabilities) will become a reality.

Mobile phone users are being urged to boycott the next generation of 5G phones, while also sharing to family and friends who may be sceptical the process of so-called ‘safety standards’.

It has also never been a better time to join a local 5G community action group and start taking action.



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