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Australia - Mobile Communications - Spectrum Auctions

  • January 2017
  • -
  • Paul Budde Communication Pty Ltd
  • -
  • 17 pages

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Radio spectrum for mobile phone services in Australia was first auctioned in 1997. Subsequently, spectrum was divided and traded between players to support new mobile services, most notably high speed mobile data services using HSPA or LTE technologies. Following a dormant period between 2007 and 2011, a number of significant auctions were since held, particularly in the 2.3GHz and 2GHz bands for regional and rural areas.

The auction of digital dividend' spectrum in the 700MHz band, primarily for mobile broadband use, held in April 2013 has enabled the licensees (chiefly Optus and Telstra, but also TPG), to make use of their 700MHz concessions since these became available in January 2015. Spectrum in the 2.5GHz band was also auctioned.

In February 2016 the ACMA concluded the second-tranche auction of spectrum in the 1800MHz band, with the three MNOs together with TPG emerging as winners. The 11-year licences for regional Australia can be used from June 2017.

The ACMA in late 2016 published a report with proposals on releasing additional spectrum for future 5G use, including spectrum currently used for broadcasting.

Key developments:

Regulator to auction remaining 2x15MHz in the 700MHz band; in the ACMA completes 1800MHz auction; Police Federation continues to lobby for use of 20MHz in the 700MHz band; 3G HSPA; UMTS 850; Personal Communication System; Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA); Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA); DCS-1800; DAMPS; Fixed Radio Access (FRA); LTE; Local Multipoint Distribution Systems (LMDS); Digital Dividend spectrum reallocation; spectrum auctions; includes results on 700MHz, 1800MHz and 2.5GHz auctions; operator strategies for new concessions, Ericsson trials Asia-Pacific Telecommunity 700MHz (APT700) spectrum with Telstra; recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report:

Optus, AAPT, Vodafone, Telstra, Hutchinson, AUSTAR, Walker Wireless, ActewAGL, nbn.

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