- The Australian Radio Communications Industry Association (ARCIA) has urged the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to make spectrum in the 3400-3475MHz range available for private LTE networks.
- ACMA’s consultation paper presents four options for allocating the spectrum, with the βirst two options involving only allowing a single operator per frequency lot per area.
- ARCIA argued that the draft decision to recommend option 4 would deny telcos outside the major operators the opportunity to help private industry adopt private 5G and 4G networks.
The Australian Radio Communications Industry Association (ARCIA) has urged the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to make spectrum in the 3400-3475MHz range available for private LTE networks.
In its submission to ACMA’s consultation on allocating the spectrum in urban excise areas due to be returned by NBN Co, ARCIA said it is concerned that ACMA’s preferred option for reallocation would not allow new services to be launched.
According to ACMA, “We are concerned that the ACMA has suggested a preferred option that will again make valuable mid-band spectrum in the urban areas available in a format that is designed to suit the preferences of the public carriers and in so doing again close off viable opportunities for private LTE services in these areas.”
ACMA presented four alternatives regarding the allocation of the spectrum. The first two options aim to allow only a single operator per frequency lot per area. Here are the following possibilities:
Option 1: permits the utilisation of macro cells with a higher restricted band so as not to cause interference with nearby bands.
Option 2: imposes limitations on cell use but with a lesser band guard.
Option 3: maintains the same restrictions on cell use but approves of multiple operators sharing the spectrum with frequency coordination requirements.
Option 4: is what is known as the hybrid approach between the first and second options.
For ACMA’s preference inclined towards Option 4, ARCIA claims that “the only acceptable utilisation of this spectrum would be option 3, as this would allow for the launch of a wider range of wireless services including private 5G networks.”
The ARCIA further stated, “Historically, the plan to provide services for macro-cell formats have meant that spectrum is allocated by an auction process. In that case the only bidders will be the public carriers.”
“This then means that there will not actually be any new services, only more capacity on existing services, whereas if option 3 were implemented there would be multiple new opportunities to service new markets,” states the submission further.
According to ARCIA, the planned decision to propose Option 4 would take away the opportunity for telcos not classified as major operators to assist the private industry to implement 5G and 4G networks.
ARCIA laments, “In effect this recommendation from the ACMA yet again defers the potential for private industry to get the benefits from technology and to give a public benefit in ways other than financial contribution to the government through spectrum licence fees alone.”
ARCIA reasoned out that ACMA has not recognised any petition for private wireless broadband systems in the key urban zones. Another argument ARCIA expressed in its submission is that the approach recommended by ACMA to compel licensees to handle interference from macro cell systems is not practical. This will only result in risks of interference and worsened services for clients of NBN wireless broadband.
“This risk is exacerbated by the requirement for consumers to report interference issues to their RSP First,” ARCIA said.