Govt sets 5G spectrum limits for telcos

Govt sets 5G spectrum limits for telcos

Directed ACMA to set limits of 60 GHz in metro and 80 MHz in regional areas

The Australian government has set competition limits for telecommunication providers seeking to gain a slice of the 5G spectrum, as the auction looms within the 3.6 GHz band later this year.

The Department of Communications has directed the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to impose allocation limits of 60 MHz in metropolitan areas and 80 MHz in regional areas.

These limits account for existing spectrum holdings in the broader 3400-3700 MHz band (which is all suitable for 5G), meaning that carriers which already have significant holdings in this band would be limited in the amount of new spectrum they could bid for, or may not be able to participate in the auction.

The ACMA is preparing to auction 125 MHz of available spectrum in the 3.6 GHz band later this year.

Communications minister, Mitch Fifield, said the 3.6 GHz band was recognised as a key band for telcos to roll-out new 5G networks.

The department said these allocation limits will allow a competitive auction process while preventing any one bidder from acquiring an amount of spectrum which could preclude other telcos from rolling out 5G networks.

“These auction limits promote competition in the telecommunications industry while ensuring this scarce spectrum is put to its highest-value use,” Fifield said.

In March, the Federal Government announced it will put 125 MHz of mobile spectrum in the 3.6 GHz band up for auction, effectively opening up for the door for new 5G services in metropolitan and regional Australia.

The move came several months after Fifield released a 5G directions paper, announcing the formation of a 5G working group to settle on the best regulatory settings to allow 5G applications to be rolled out in Australia.

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