Telstra opposes 700 MHz for emergency 4G network

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Telstra opposes 700 MHz for emergency 4G network

Keep it for commercial mobile broadband.

Telstra will oppose a last-ditch bid by emergency services to secure unsold 700 MHz spectrum for a national 4G network, arguing the spectrum should be kept for commercial mobile broadband growth.

The carrier backed the Australian Communications and Media Authority's judgment to push emergency services into the 800 MHz and 4.9 GHz bands rather than 700 MHz.

"The spectrum in the 700 MHz band that was not allocated in the ACMA's recent spectrum auction is not appropriate for [public sector mobile broadband] purposes," Telstra said. (pdf)

"The fact that some of the available 700 MHz spectrum was not allocated in the ACMA's recent spectrum auction does not mean this spectrum will not be needed to meet the demand from commercial mobile networks in the long term."

The carrier also cited the incompatibility of a 700 MHz allocation with international spectrum planning for public protection and disaster relief (PPDR) solutions as another reason not to let emergency services into the 700 MHz band.

Telstra said International Telecommunications Union (ITU) guidance put PPDR mobile broadband systems in Australia and the Asia Pacific "in the 806-824/851-869 MHz frequency range".

"It is ... clear that the 700 MHz band is not recognised by the ITU as a harmonised band for PPDR applications in [this] region," Telstra said.

It argued that 700 MHz spectrum "offers no significant advantage in terms of how early it can be accessed for public safety use" compared to spectrum in the adjacent 800 MHz band. Both bands will be ready to support mobile broadband services sometime in 2015.

Telstra's comments are contained in its submission to a Senate inquiry into spectrum for public safety mobile broadband, which is seen as emergency services' last chance at securing favoured 700 MHz spectrum over the mixed 800 MHz / 4.9 GHz offer currently on the table.

Much of Telstra's submission is a pitch to effectively operate a national public safety mobile broadband network in Australia as a partition of its commercial network, though emergency services are pitching to have their own network and use commercial services only as overflow capacity.

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