More Spectrum for 4G Mobile Broadband and Potential 5G Services

An auction will be held later this year to sell spectrum for mobile broadband, LTE and potentially 5G technologies. The auction will sell the remaining spectrum in the 1800MHz, 2GHz, 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz bands.

A discussion paper released recently seeks comments on the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s (the ACMA’s) preparations for the sale. The ACMA expects interested parties to include mobile broadband and LTE service providers, given the anticipated use of the spectrum. However, subject to the auction rules and any competition rules the minister may choose to set, anyone may apply to participate in the auction.

The discussion paper seeks stakeholder views on the way the ACMA proposes to configure the spectrum for auction in a series of draft marketing plans. It also sets out auction rules and methodology, and invites comments on the ACMA’s proposal to use a simple clock auction (SCA) format to allocate the lots over three stages, with each stage offering multiple lots simultaneously. The SCA was used to sell remaining 700 MHz spectrum in April 2017.

Submissions to the consultation are open, closing on the 25th of August 2017. Enquiries can be made at

The auction includes spectrum lots that remain unallocated after the recent spectrum auction in the 1800MHz band, and spectrum that was either not allocated in earlier auctions or has become available following spectrum licence reissue processes in the 2GHz, 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz bands.

Also included is some recently designated 2GHz spectrum in the ACT.

These lots are collectively referred to by the ACMA as the ‘multiband residual lots’, and the auction process the ACMA proposes to use to allocate the multiband residual lots is referred to as the ‘multiband residual lots auction’.

In order to conduct an efficient and effective auction of the multiband residual lots, the ACMA is required to make a number of legislative instruments, including marketing plans for the 1800MHz, 2GHz, 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz bands, variation marketing plan instruments for the 1800MHz and 2.3GHz bands, as well as an allocation determination. These legislative instruments are collectively referred to in this consultation as the draft allocation instruments.

A marketing plan essentially sets out the product offering, and may specify matters including, but not limited to:

  • The procedures to be followed for issuing spectrum licences
  • How the spectrum is to be apportioned among the spectrum licences to be issued
  • The conditions, or types of conditions, that may be included in spectrum licences to be issued.

An allocation determination essentially sets out the ‘auction rules’ and may deal with matters including:

  • The auction methodology.
  • How the auction will be advertised.
  • Methods of payments for licences.

For more information contact Emma Rossi, Media Manager, (02) 9334 7719, 0434 652 063 or



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