An applicant information paper (AIP) has been published by the Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA) related to release of 1800MHz spectrum in remote areas of the country. This paper outlines the application documents that must be completed and forwarded to the ACMA, as well as details of the regulatory and legislative process the ACMA will employ to issue licences. In announcing the AIP’s release, the ACMA noted that it has revised existing regulatory measures for the band and developed access arrangements for remote regions utilising public telecommunications service (PTS) licences. It claims such revisions will support the deployment of mobile services in remote areas, while to assist with an orderly release of licences in the band, the ACMA has defined a list of ‘priority assignments’ for access to the band. Under this approach, applicants will only be permitted to apply for licences in the specific channels assigned to them.
With the release of the AIP marking the commencement of the notification period, Australia’s three mobile network operators – Telstra, Optus and Vodafone Australia – are now able to make applications for those frequencies in the defined priority assignment relevant for each carrier. Meanwhile, potential licensees in the ‘Other’ segment of the band must wait until the application window opens on 12 January 2016; this window will subsequently close on 19 January 2016.