Opening up more 5G spectrum
The Morrison Government has commenced the process to auction 2.4 GHz of essential spectrum in the 26 GHz band to support a fast and efficient rollout of 5G across Australia.
The spectrum will be sold at a competitive auction in early 2021. This follows the successful sale of Australia's first 5G spectrum in the 3.6 GHz band by the Morrison Government in December 2018.
Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher, this week issued a spectrum re-allocation declaration for the 26 GHz band, consistent with advice from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) which was informed by extensive industry consultation.
“The Morrison Government is allocating this spectrum to support a number of important communications policy objectives, including the rapid deployment of 5G technologies, the promotion of competitive market outcomes, and encouraging investment in infrastructure across both metropolitan and regional Australia,” Minister Fletcher said.
“Making this spectrum available means that the Australian telecommunications industry can do what it does best – provide world-class telecommunications services for consumers, small businesses and enterprises. 5G will deliver speeds significantly faster than 4G and at much lower latency.”
5G will support a range of current and future use cases, including streaming ultra-high definition video, teleworking from regional centres, and autonomous vehicles.
The Radiocommunications (Spectrum Re-allocation—26 GHz Band) Declaration 2019, which is available at www.legislation.gov.au, allows ACMA to re-allocate spectrum across 29 cities and regional centres in Australia in order to accommodate new wireless broadband services, including 5G, under spectrum licensing arrangements.
Minister Fletcher has written to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission seeking advice on allocation limits for the auction process.
Spectrum is essential for the deployment of 5G networks around Australia.
Mid‑band spectrum, such as the previously auctioned 3.6 GHz band, will provide broader geographic coverage for 5G services.
High-band spectrum, such as the 26 GHz band, will provide for shorter‑range, higher capacity services. Advances in radiofrequency technology have unlocked the 26 GHz band for wireless broadband services and the deployment of 5G technologies.
Minister Fletcher's spectrum re-allocation declaration supports the following communications policy objectives for the 26 GHz band:
- supporting the deployment of 5G technologies;
- promoting the efficient allocation and use of spectrum;
- promoting competitive market outcomes for the long term benefit of consumers;
- promoting co‑existence with existing services;
- supporting technological innovation and a range of wireless broadband use cases; and
- encouraging investment in infrastructure, including in regional Australia.
The re-allocation is part of ACMA's broader plan to make spectrum available for 5G technologies in Australia through a flexible mix of class, apparatus and spectrum licensing.