Australia to auction 26GHz spectrum in early 2021

25 Oct 2019

The Australian government has announced plans to auction 2.4GHz of spectrum in the 26GHz band with a view to supporting ‘a fast and efficient rollout of 5G across [the country].’ In a press release regarding the matter – issued by the country’s communications minister Paul Fletcher – it was noted that the frequencies in question are expected to be sold at a competitive auction which will take place in early 2021. Mr Fletcher confirmed that he had this week issued a spectrum reallocation declaration for the 26GHz band, consistent with advice from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), which he said had been informed by extensive industry consultation. The ‘Radiocommunications (Spectrum Reallocation—26GHz Band) Declaration 2019’ will reportedly enable the ACMA to reallocate spectrum in the 26GHz band (25.1GHz-27.5GHz) across 29 Australian cities and regional centres in order to accommodate new wireless broadband services, including 5G, under spectrum licensing arrangements. Meanwhile, it was noted that, in order to evaluate the potential for co-existence between NBN Co’s Sky Muster satellite services and 5G mobile broadband services in the 27GHz-27.5GHz frequency range, the Department of Communications and the Arts (DCA) has commissioned a report by an independent consultant.

Commenting on the spectrum sale plans, Minister Fletcher said: ‘The Morrison Government is allocating this spectrum to support a number of important communications policy objectives, including the rapid deployment of 5G technologies, the promotion of competitive market outcomes, and encouraging investment in infrastructure across both metropolitan and regional Australia … Making this spectrum available means that the Australian telecommunications industry can do what it does best – provide world-class telecommunications services for consumers, small businesses and enterprises. 5G will deliver speeds significantly faster than 4G and at much lower latency.’