Govt opens applications for low band 5G spectrum auction

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has announced applications are now open for the upcoming 2021 auction of 5G spectrum in the 850/900 MHz band.

The 850/900 MHz band is currently used for 3G services and optimised for 2G services, but the 850MHz band will get additional spectrum and the 900MHz band will be re-planned to make it suitable for the deployment of 4G and 5G services.

ACMA said the bands can provide 5G connectivity across longer distances and are essential to the deployment of wide-area networks, like mobile services and fixed wireless.

Some 70 MHz of the paired spectrum will be auctioned off across Australia.

ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin said the allocation in the bands will support new and existing operators to better deliver services across regional, rural and remote areas of Australia, as well as to major population centres.

“The spectrum available in this auction will facilitate a wide range of new services that will benefit businesses and consumers across Australia,” O’Loughlin said.

The application period starts today, 1 September, and runs until 21 September 2021. The auction itself is scheduled sometime in late November to early December.

“We encourage all interested parties to apply during this window so they can participate in the auction in late 2021,” O’Loughlin added.

Earlier this year, the Government auctioned off high-band spectrum in the 26 GHz band, collecting revenue of $647 million from bidders. Telstra, Optus and the TPG/Vodafone joint venture took the most lots, with UK’s Dense Air and Perth-based Pentanet also securing some.Got a news tip for our journalists? Share it with us anonymously here.

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