ACMA offers 15 applicants 26GHz/28GHz spectrum

18 Dec 2020

A total of 15 companies have secured new spectrum in the 26GHz and 28GHz bands, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has announced, saying that this first ‘major’ allocation of 5G millimetre wave (mmWave) spectrum paves the way for ‘faster and more reliable internet for metropolitan and regional Australia and innovative new uses for digital technology.’

In a press release regarding the matter, the ACMA confirmed the identities of the winning bidders as: Dreamtilt, Field Solutions Group, Inmarsat, MarchNet, Nokia, NBN Co, New Skies Satellites/SES, O3B/SES, OptiComm, Optus, Starlink (SpaceX), Telstra, Viasat, Vocus and WorldVu (One Web). It noted that a number of the successful applicants intend to provide wireless broadband services across all states and territories and across urban, regional and rural areas, while highlighting the fact that there had been ‘considerable uptake from fixed satellite service providers across Australia, including from existing providers and new entrants to the Australian satellite market’.

According to the ACMA, the mmWave spectrum has been allocated through area-wide apparatus licences (AWLs), a new class of license that it said ‘represents the first step in the series of 5G-ready allocations in these mmWave spectrum bands’. Using these new area-wide licences, applicants were reportedly able to identify the regions and amount of spectrum they would seek to use, while the regulator confirmed that spectrum which was not allocated in the initial application round in the 26GHz (24.7GHz-25.1GHz) and 28GHz (27.5GHz-29.5GHz) bands will be made available for allocation in January 2021.

Earlier this week, meanwhile, the ACMA opened applications for an auction of spectrum licences in the 26GHz band(25.1GHz–27.5GHz in major population centres) in April 2021. A further allocation round for spectrum in the 26GHz band, covering regional and remote Australia, will then follow at the conclusion of that auction.