New approaches to spectrum sharing | ACMA

New approaches to spectrum sharing

Consultation closes: 27 September 2019

IFC: 25/2019 Hazy Spectrum lines

Have your say

How can I make a submission?
You can make comments online, upload a submission or send via email or post. See ‘How to submit’ in the index box. Submission details are also included in the paper.

When will comments and submissions be published?
For this consultation, comments and submissions will be published at the conclusion of the consultation period, unless the ACMA has accepted a confidentiality claim in relation to the comment or submission or the ACMA deems the comment or submission to be inappropriate for publication.

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Information paper:
Spectrum sharingoverview and new approaches

837 kB


The Spectrum sharing—overview and new approaches information paper has been released to support discussion at the August 2019 ‘New approaches to spectrum sharing’ tune-up event. Find out more about the spectrum tune-up.

The consultation is also open for written submissions until 27 September. See ‘How can I make a submission?’ above.


Spectrum sharing is fundamental to effective spectrum management. As with all forms of resource sharing, spectrum sharing requires a degree of compromise between multiple uses and/or users.

In its most basic form, spectrum sharing is commonplace—it can be said that all access to spectrum involves sharing in one form or another.

Licensed access to spectrum inherently involves what we would term ‘traditional’ sharing approaches.

In recent years, we’ve seen the emergence of what might be considered ‘non-traditional’ sharing approaches. These involve technologies that are able to make decisions on which spectrum can be accessed at a given time in a given environment. These technologies may not be licenced to a specific frequency or location, but instead dynamically fill vacant spectrum.

Significant recent international movements make it timely to take a fresh look at emerging opportunities for non-traditional shared access and to consider how regulation might facilitate new spectrum sharing opportunities.

Issues for comment

The ACMA welcomes comment from interested stakeholders on the issues raised in this information paper, or during the spectrum tune-up.

In particular, the ACMA seeks responses to the following questions:

  1. Given current momentum in international markets and opportunities for other sharing models offered by 5G technologies, is it timely to develop a more detailed consideration of spectrum sharing opportunities in Australia? 
  2. Are there recent developments in sharing techniques that industry and the ACMA should be aware of? 
  3. What are the (potentially new) use cases that might benefit from secondary or tertiary access to spectrum and who benefits? 
  4. What are the potential challenges/impediments to the introduction of DSA in Australia—technical, industry capability, licensing and regulatory frameworks? 
  5. Facilitating spectrum access (e.g. monitoring, control, reporting, assignment) logically necessitates involvement from both government and industry. Are there any early thoughts on what an appropriate industry/government balance might look like? How might the ACMA facilitate shared spectrum access? How might the ACMA address this? 
  6. What is the relevance of DSA examples such as the US Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) arrangements to the Australian spectrum environment? Are there other or lower cost alternatives to help inform access control and assignment systems of incumbent usage in a timely manner? 
  7. Under a multi-tier DSA approach:
    • Tier 1 (highest priority or incumbent) users would be expected to share spectrum with lower tier users when not being utilised. Are there any specific licensing and/or regulatory arrangements that might incentivise the tier 1 users to release unutilised spectrum for lower-tier access?
    • Tier 2 and 3 users need to vacate spectrum (regardless of their service type or communication urgency) for tier 1 users to operate seamlessly. Do we see potential services/service types in Australia who would fit the criteria of second or third tier users? What are the incentives to adopt a conditional (lower priority) spectrum than an unconditional (full access) spectrum?