ACMA to reallocate 3.6GHz spectrum, reconfigure 900MHz band

27 Oct 2017

In announcing that it has begun the process of reallocating spectrum in the 3.6GHz band and moving to more efficient arrangements in the 900MHz band for advanced mobile broadband technologies, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has claimed that 5G mobile broadband services ‘have come a step closer’.

With the ACMA saying it had made ‘key decisions to make more spectrum available for spectrum licensing’, ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin noted: ‘We have undertaken extensive consultations on the future of the 3.6GHz band and considered the circumstances of current users and aspirant licensees in determining the proposed arrangements for this reallocation.’ She added: ‘Now that 2G services have been or are being switched off, the ACMA is also keen to refarm the 900MHz GSM band and optimise its utility for newer generation mobile broadband services, such as 4G. We propose to do this over a number of years to avoid disruption of existing services. We also plan to make available additional spectrum already planned for reallocation to mobile broadband in the 850MHz band.’

Reviews of the 3.6GHz and 900MHz bands have been key priorities for the ACMA and form a key part of its future work priorities, which it has outlined in its five-year spectrum outlook 2017/21 (the ‘FYSO’), also published this week. Highlights of the FYSO include detailed information about the ACMA’s forward work plan for spectrum allocations, in the form of possible scenarios for auction timing; and sequencing an outline of the ACMA’s proposed Spectrum Review implementation activities.