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ACMA opens applications for Australia’s first ‘high band’ 5G spectrum auction

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In a step that will pave the way for ultra-fast internet access and new digital technology in Australia, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has  opened applications to participate in the April 2021 auction of high band 5G spectrum.

High band spectrum can provide higher capacity and faster mobile internet access compared to spectrum bands currently used for wireless broadband across Australia.

ACMA Authority member James Cameron said 5G spectrum will make Australians better connected across homes, businesses, industries, towns, cities and states.

“5G is a game changer for Australia. The spectrum available in this auction will facilitate a wide range of new services that will benefit Australian businesses and consumers.It is important for smart farming, robotics, telemedicine and other emerging technologies which will increase Australia’s productivity,” ACMA Authority member James said.

The ACMA will auction 2.4 GHz of spectrum in the 26 GHz band in 27 geographic regions across Australia. The spectrum auction is an opportunity for interested parties, typically major telco providers, to bid for high band spectrum that will accommodate future 5G services in Australia.

The auction forms part of the Australian Government’s plan to make 2021 the Year of 5G, with a second auction also planned for late 2021 for low band 5G spectrum.

A total of 360 lots of spectrum are available. Allocation limits set by the Minister mean that during the auction, individual participants cannot acquire more than 1 GHz of the 26 GHz band in each geographic region.

“We’re encouraging interested stakeholders to apply so they can participate in the auction next year,” ACMA Authority member James said.

The ACMA has prepared an applicant information package (AIP) for interested parties, which provides a detailed auction guide, information on the spectrum available and starting prices.

The application period runs from 14 December 2020 to 21 January 2021. The spectrum auction is scheduled to commence in April 2021.

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