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Government sets limits to encourage competition for 5G spectrum

Minister for Communications Mitch Fifield Minister for Communications Mitch Fifield Featured

The Australian Government has announced competition limits which it says will allow a competitive auction by telcos bidding for 5G spectrum in the 3.6 GHz band.

Announcing the competition limits today, the Minister for Communications and the Arts Senator Mitch Fifield said spectrum is a “highly valued and finite resource which is essential for a range of everyday services, particularly mobile broadband” - and the allocation limits will allow for 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".

“The next generation of mobile services, 5G, will deliver significantly faster mobile data speeds and allow for millions of new devices to connect. The 3.6 GHz band is recognised internationally as a key band for telcos to roll out new 5G networks.

“Australians have a voracious appetite for mobile data, and our competitive telecommunications market means that Australians already enjoy some of the fastest mobile broadband speeds in the world. These auction limits promote competition in the telecommunications industry while ensuring this scarce spectrum is put to its highest-value use,” the Minister said.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority is preparing to auction 125 MHz of available spectrum in the 3.6 GHz band later this year and, in preparation for the auction, Fifield has directed the ACMA to impose allocation limits of 60 MHz in metropolitan areas and 80 MHz in regional areas.

The 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.

Fifield said the limits were set following careful consideration of advice from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, which consulted with relevant parties.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

 

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