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Residual spectrum to be sold at competitive auction

The Australian Government has announced its decision about allocation limits for an upcoming auction of residual spectrum in the 1800 MHz, 2 GHz, 2.3 GHz and 3.4 GHz bands.

In accordance with advice from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the Government will remove existing allocation limits in the 2 GHz band to allow all telecommunications providers to bid for residual spectrum from previous auctions. The existing allocation limits in the 1800 MHz band will be retained. No allocation limits will apply in the 2.3 GHz and 3.4 GHz bands.

Spectrum is an essential finite resource which underpins many aspects of our everyday lives – including the use of mobile phones, television and radio.

The auction of residual spectrum will promote competition in the market and the efficient use of spectrum in Australia. It will also enable all currently unused spectrum in relevant bands to be licensed under the current legislative framework. This will enable a smoother transition to the new licensing framework proposed by the Government’s spectrum reform package, which includes an exposure draft of a proposed new Radiocommunications Bill.

The multiband residual lots auction is scheduled to take place in late 2017. Given the small amount of spectrum available in each band, the Government has chosen to conduct a single auction process rather than several smaller auctions.

As with the recent 700 MHz spectrum auction process, the Australian Communications and Media Authority will conduct the auction on behalf of the Government.

The ACCC provides advice on allocation limits to ensure a fair and efficient process.

The Minister’s direction on this matter and a copy of the ACCC advice are available at: https://www.accc.gov.au/regulated-infrastructure/communications/spectrum-competition-limits/request-for-advice-%E2%80%93-omnibus-spectrum

Information on the proposed new spectrum licensing framework is available at: www.communications.gov.au/what-we-do/spectrum/spectrum-reform

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