Low band 5G spectrum auction caps off incredible ‘Year of 5G’

The 850/900 MHz band spectrum auction result was announced today by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). Optus and Telstra were both successful in securing spectrum licences at a total cost of $2.092 billion.

Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP welcomed the conclusion of the auction which has allocated 72 MHz of low band spectrum to support 5G rollout.

This auction follows the completion of the high band 5G auction in April 2021, making 2021 the ‘Year of 5G’.

“In 2021, the Morrison Government has delivered two major spectrum auctions to facilitate the growth of 5G, and have set the groundwork for the pace of 5G network rollouts to increase in the year ahead”, Minister Fletcher said.

Low band spectrum, such as the 850/900 MHz band, has particular characteristics that allow it to transmit efficiently over long distances and through objects such as trees and buildings. It is therefore a highly valued component of mobile networks, particularly in regional Australia.

“The Government recognises the opportunities the 5G rollout presents for economic growth and innovation, including in Australia’s regional communities. The outcome of this auction is an important milestone in making sure the benefits of 5G will be shared by all Australians,” Minister Fletcher said.

As a result of the Morrison Government’s work to reform and modernise the Radiocommunications Act 1992, the spectrum licences are 20 year licences, instead of 15 years. Reforms to the Act were passed by the Parliament late last year and commenced in June 2021, meaning this auction was the first to be able to offer bidders the certainty arising from longer licence tenure. Licences will commence on 1 July 2024.

The full auction results have been published on ACMA’s website (www.acma.gov.au).


Media contact:

Imre Salusinszky | 0432 535 737 | Imre.Salusinszky@communications.gov.au