ACMA publishes proposals for reallocation of regional 1800MHz frequencies

10 Feb 2015

A draft recommendation related to proposals for the reallocation of frequencies in the regional 1800MHz band for long-term spectrum licences has been released by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

Spectrum in the regional 1800MHz band (1725MHz-1785MHz and 1820MHz–1880MHz) is currently subject to apparatus licensing and is used mainly for fixed links, while in major cities the band is already licensed and used extensively, predominantly for 4G LTE-based services. With the ACMA noting that demand is on the rise in regional areas for the deployment of 4G communications networks and smart infrastructure systems, this is said to be driven by various industry sectors, including telecommunications carriers themselves, mining and energy companies, and railway authorities. ‘Spectrum-licensed access to the 1800MHz band would benefit various industry sectors in Australia and, ultimately, citizens and consumers, who would enjoy the flow on economic and social benefits from international harmonisation of this band and equipment economies of scale,’ said ACMA chairman Chris Chapman of the proposals.

With regards to the existing licensing schemes, the executive added: ‘Those licensing arrangements in the band are not able to accommodate potential future uses of the band, such as the delivery of mobile services to regional Australia … The release of the terms of the draft reallocation recommendation marks the first legislative step in reallocating the regional 1800MHz band for new uses.’

In outlining its proposals the ACMA has said it will consider all comments received on the terms of the draft recommendation before making a final recommendation to Australia’s telecoms minister; the closing dates for submissions has been set as 11 March 2015. Subsequently, if the ACMA’s proposed recommendation is accepted and a reallocation declaration in relation to the regional 1800MHz band is made, the regulator has said it intends to allocate the spectrum by auction.