ACMA reveals auction plan for 700MHz/2.5GHz spectrum

20 Sep 2011

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has unveiled its plans for the sale of spectrum in the 700MHz and 2.5GHz bands, with the regulator having announced that it will use a ‘Combinatorial Clock Auction’ format when it launches the sale process in the latter part of 2012. In total, 90MHz of frequencies in the 700MHz band and 140MHz in the 2.5GHz band are expected to be up for grabs when the sale gets underway. The style of auction put forward by the ACMA will reportedly allow bidders to specify the geographic location and parts of the respective spectrum bands that they want; it is understood this could enable smaller operators – which may only be seeking a small amount of spectrum in a single regional location – to participate in the process. Further, the regulator has claimed that this type of sale will offer operators the opportunity to ‘acquire the specific combinations of spectrum which best meet their business needs’. For its part, the ACMA will reportedly divide the available frequencies into portions, with the value of each block to be determined through bidding rounds in which prospective buyers will state how much they want to pay for specific parts of the spectrum. A reserve price for the spectrum is expected to be set by the regulator, although it has not yet confirmed what that will be. Commenting on the development, Chris Chapman, chairman of the ACMA, noted: ‘The Combinatorial Clock Auction has already been used successfully overseas and is the methodology most likely to produce an efficient allocation of spectrum.’