Valuable spectrum to go to public auction | ACMA

Valuable spectrum to go to public auction


Australians will soon enjoy the benefits of industry access to additional valuable spectrum, ideal for mobile broadband.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority today released a consultation paper proposing to allocate, by auction, spectrum that remained unsold after the 700 MHz digital dividend auction held in 2013. The 30 MHz of unsold 700 MHz spectrum will go to auction early next year.

‘700 MHz band spectrum is highly valued for 4G LTE mobile broadband,’ said ACMA acting Chairman, Richard Bean. ‘The 700 MHz band unsold lots are available under spectrum licences which will be attractive to any participant interested in offering nationwide mobile broadband services.’

The ACMA is consulting on draft allocation instruments, which describe the product being offered and the rules and procedures that will govern the auction process.

The ACMA has prepared a consultation paper setting out information on:

  • how the ACMA proposes to configure the spectrum for auction
  • how the auction is proposed to operate
  • how interested parties can participate.

Further information about the consultation, auction, timings and a letter from the Minister for Communications, Senator the Hon. Mitch Fifield, to the ACMA regarding auction parameters, can be found on the ACMA website.

For more information please see the Backgrounder below or to arrange an interview, please contact: Emma Rossi, Media Manager, (02) 9334 7719, 0434 652 063 or

Media release 37/2016 - 21 October


On 1 November 2011, the then Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, having considered recommendations made by the ACMA, made the Radiocommunications (Spectrum Re-allocation) Declaration No.1 of 2011 (the reallocation declaration). The reallocation declaration provided that 2 x 45 MHz of spectrum (703–748 and 758–803 MHz (the declared spectrum)) in the 700 MHz band was to be subject to re-allocation by issuing spectrum licences.

Subsequently, following comprehensive consultation and various pre-auction processes, the ACMA offered the declared spectrum to interested parties through the 2013 digital dividend auction.
Following the auction, 2 x 15 MHz of 700 MHz spectrum remained unsold (the unsold 700 MHz lots). The ACMA’s allocation procedures for the digital dividend auction provided that any unsold 700 MHz spectrum lots might later be offered for allocation by a procedure at a time to be determined by the ACMA.

The ACMA has now commenced preparations to allocate the unsold lots by another auction process scheduled to be conducted in 2017.

Figure 1:  Location of digital dividend spectrum and unsold lots

700overview jpg

The ACMA has prepared draft legislative instruments, referred to as allocation instruments, which describe the product being offered through the auction, as well as setting out the rules and procedures that will govern the auction process for the allocation of the unsold lots. The ACMA intends to use existing technical instruments to provide the technical and interference management rules for the operation of radiocommunications devices in the unsold lots (the technical framework).

The draft allocation instruments are:

  • a marketing plan to be made under section 39A of the Radiocommunications Act 1992 (the Act)
  • a marketing plan variation instrument to be made under subsection 42(1) of the Act
  • an allocation determination to be made under sections 60 and 294 of the Act.

Draft versions of the marketing plan, the marketing plan variation instrument and the allocation determination can be accessed on the ACMA website.

The ACMA welcomes comment on matters raised in the consultation paper, and on any other issues relevant to the allocation of the unsold 700 MHz lots.

The ACMA is guided in its spectrum management functions by the objects of the Act, set out in section 3, and the ACMA’s Principles for Spectrum Management (the Principles). The key theme of the Principles is that maximising the overall public benefit from use of the radiofrequency spectrum requires a balanced application of both regulatory and market mechanisms.

Last updated: 21 October 2016