- According to the Australian Communications and Media Authority, the auction for spectrum licences in the regional 3.4GHz and 3.7GHz bands is set to be kicked off in the third quarter of 2023.
- In line with this, an outcomes paper for its consultation on a spectrum reallocation declaration for the bands was released by the regulator.
- The regulator said that consultation on issues related to allocation instruments for spectrum licences will still continue.
According to the Australian Communications and Media Authority, the auction for spectrum licences in the regional 3.4GHz and 3.7GHz bands is set to be kicked off in the third quarter of 2023.
In line with this, an outcomes paper for its consultation on a spectrum reallocation declaration for the bands was released by the regulator. The regulator said that consultation on issues related to allocation instruments for spectrum licences will still continue.
“We anticipate a reallocation period of five years will not substantially inhibit new spectrum licensees in the regional 3.4 and 3.7GHz bands to deploy services and will strike a balance between enabling access to the spectrum by new services and providing time for incumbent apparatus licensees to investigate and implement alternative options,” stated ACMA.
A faster reallocation period was pushed for by various mobile network operators. In this case, Optus and TPG Telecom proposed two years across the bands citing “the need to access the spectrum earlier than the proposed five years,” ACMA noted.
Meanwhile, Telstra proposed a two-year period for metro areas and five years for regional areas.
Some of the other parties supporting the five-year period include NBN Co, DB Telecommunications, Nokia, and the Communications Alliance Satellite Services Working Group.
Furthermore, according to ACMA, the spectrum in the 3400-3475MHz frequency range in the so-called “urban excise areas” will then be available for local area wireless broadband via apparatus licences.
“We will also implement a segmentation approach in the 3800-4000MHz frequency range,” the regulator added. “Our preliminary view is that the 3950-4000MHz frequency should be segmented for restricted cell use.”
ACMA also received several submissions from the aviation sector during the consultation. This included the Civil Aviation Safety Authority and the Australian Airport Association. Both raised concerns about the interference of 5G services in the bands with radio altimeters.
In response to these concerns, ACMA said that it was “monitoring international developments” regarding the risk of altimeter interference from wireless broadband services including 5G, “along with any mitigation measures being implemented to manage this”.
The outcomes paper further detailed: “These developments will help inform any temporary or long-term arrangements put in place to manage this issue domestically. To date, we are not aware of any radio altimeter interference reports being causally linked to 5G. However, we acknowledge this does not mean there is no risk of inference.”
The paper also stated that it would “continue to work with stakeholders on the issue,” including taking account of advice from the 3.4-4.0GHz technical liaison group and other stakeholders “before any proposals for regional and metropolitan areas are publicly consulted on.”