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5G spectrum auction one step closer

The auction of spectrum for 5G mobile services is one step closer, with the Turnbull Government today announcing competition limits for telcos seeking to bid for spectrum in the 3.6 GHz band.

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.

'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,' Minister Fifield said.

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

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is preparing to auction 125 MHz of available spectrum in the 3.6 GHz band later this year.

In preparation for the auction, Minister Fifield has directed the 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.

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

Media contacts:

Geraldine Mitchell | 0407 280 476 | Geraldine.Mitchell [at] communications.gov.au
Guy Creighton | 0438 815 302 | Guy.Creighton [at] communications.gov.au