The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has issued a discussion paper entitled ‘Future use of the 1.5GHz and 3.6GHz bands’ as it plots a pathway toward 5G. Acting ACMA chairman Richard Bean commented: ‘Given the momentum developing, the time is right for us to consider the potential for re-planning the bands in Australia. There are international standards that support 4G technologies in both the 1.5GHz and 3.6GHz bands. Importantly, the 3.6GHz band is also being looked at internationally as an early band for 5G and the ACMA has decided to bring forward discussion of its future use. Re-farming these bands would enable additional capacity for new or existing operators’ mobile networks.’ The ACMA notes that the 1.5GHz and 3.6GHz bands are currently used for a variety of services, including satellite and fixed-broadband services (3.6GHz band), and defence use and fixed services, particularly in regional and remote areas (1.5GHz band).
In related news, Vodafone has become the third Australian cellco in quick succession to outline its 5G plans, with a live trial underway in Sydney. Vodafone Australia has demonstrated throughput speeds of up to 5Gbps in a public lab trial at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) in partnership with Nokia and the university. In what the companies called ‘the first public showcase of 5G capabilities in Australia’, Nokia and Vodafone attained average combined download and upload speeds of around 4.84Gbps and latency of 2.8 milliseconds by using 8×8 Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) and 64 Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM) technologies.