ACMA eyes single LTE spectrum auction

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ACMA eyes single LTE spectrum auction

National licenses for 700 MHz and 2.5 GHz.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has indicated it intends to hold a single auction of 700 MHz and 2.5 GHz spectrum targeted at mobile broadband services next year.

Speaking at the RadComms conference in Sydney, ACMA digital transition division general manager Giles Tanner said licenses would be sold on a national basis to "eliminate license boundary issues" caused by existing arrangements.

"We propose a national allocation of 2.5 GHz as [well as] 700 MHz," Tanner said.

Tanner said there was a "clear stakeholder preference" identified in ACMA's consultation processes "for a single auction of the two bands".

"So rather than working towards two auctions, there will be one auction with two products on offer," he said.

He indicated that a single auction made sense due to the complementary nature of the two bands.

Frequency Division Duplex Long Term Evolution (FDD LTE) mobile broadband technologies were expected to run mostly in the 700 MHz and 2.5 GHz bands, although telcos such as Telstra would run metropolitan parts of their next-generation networks in reclaimed 1800 MHz spectrum.

A contiguous block of 700 MHz spectrum was being reclaimed from discontinued analogue television transmission services.

It was in high demand not only from telcos but also emergency services organisations, which wanted 20 MHz of the spectrum to be reserved for a private mobile broadband network.

Tanner said the ACMA intended to run a "transparent, consultative auction process".

The main exception to national licensing was the mid-west radio quiet zone (RQZ) in remote Western Australia, an area of "radio quietness" being kept as the core site for the A/NZ bid to host the Square Kilometre Array radio telescope.

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