ACMA confirms 3.6GHz auction details

6 Aug 2018

Detailed information regarding the upcoming auction of 5G-suitable spectrum has been released by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). In a press release the regulator confirmed a number of key parameters for the sale process, which will see a total of 125MHz in the 3.6GHz band made available in late-November 2018, with a deadline for applications set at 31 August.

The ACMA will offer 350 spectrum lots across 14 regions of Australia, with a non-refundable application fee of AUD10,000 (USD7,393) for those looking to take part in the auction. A reserve price of AUD0.08 per MHz per person (AUD/MHz/pop) has been set for all metro areas bar ‘Perth lower lots’, with the reserve for the latter being higher, at AUD0.053/MHz/pop. Meanwhile, for regional parts of the country a reserve price of AUD0.03/MHz/pop has been decided upon. The auction will be carried out using the Enhanced Simultaneous Multi-round Ascending (ESMRA) format, with software developed by Power Auctions; this means there will be a simultaneous multiple-round clock stage for generic lots to determine the quantity won of each category of lots, followed by a secondary stage to determine the specific assignment.

Previously, Australian communications minister Mitch Fifield last month confirmed that there will be a cap on the amount of frequencies companies can acquire, directing the ACMA to impose allocation limits of 60MHz in metropolitan areas and 80MHz in regional zones, with no operator able to acquire spectrum which would result in them breaching these caps.

Commenting on the auction plans, ACMA chairperson Nerida O’Loughlin said: ‘The ACMA has designed an auction process – including starting prices – that aims to maximise efficiency, competitive outcomes and the full utility of this spectrum for 5G.’