We have previously undertaken multiple streams of work to replan and optimise arrangements across the 3.4–4.0 GHz frequency range:
- Optimisation of arrangements in the 3400–3575 MHz frequency range, including excising unused parts of NBN Co’s spectrum holdings in metropolitan areas.
- Planning for wireless broadband use of the unused parts of NBN Co’s spectrum holdings in metropolitan areas in the 3400–3475 MHz band.
- New planning arrangements for the 3700–4200 MHz frequency range.
Work in the 3.4–4.0 GHz band follows the 3.6 GHz band auction held in 2018, as well as defragmentation work conducted in the 3.4 GHz band.
We will use a variety of licence types and allocation methods to support use of the 3.4–4.0 GHz band by a range of different users and use cases.
To support the 3.4–4.0 GHz band work program, we have made technical planning decisions on the coexistence of wireless broadband and radio altimeters. The ACMA and CASA worked closely to identify an acceptable precautionary approach to deploy wireless broadband services.
The ACMA will make interim mitigations on new wireless broadband deployments above 3.7 GHz until 31 March 2026. This will help manage coexistence between wireless broadband services and aircraft radio altimeters. It will allow the timely rollout of wireless broadband services while providing time for the aviation sector to improve radio altimeter performance.
An outline of the process is in the table below.
|Spectrum to be allocated||Allocation and licence type||Timing|
|1||3.4–4.0 GHz band, remote areas||Administrative allocation of AWLs||Q3 2023 (updated)|
|2||3.4 GHz and 3.7 GHz bands, metropolitan and regional areas||Direct allocation and auction of spectrum licences||Q4 2023|
3800–3950 MHz, metropolitan and regional areas
3750–3950 MHz, rural areas
|Administrative allocation of AWLs||Q1 2024 (updated)|
3.95–4.0 GHz band, regional and metropolitan areas
3.4–3.475 GHz band, ‘urban excise’ areas
|Restricted cell apparatus licences/ Apparatus licences||TBD|
Allocation of AWLs in the 3.8 GHz band in metropolitan, regional and rural areas
We are preparing to allocate spectrum in the 3.8 GHz band by issuing the following area-wide apparatus licences (AWLs):
- 3800–3950 MHz in metropolitan and regional areas
- 3750–3950 GHz in rural areas.
This allocation follows our 2021 planning decisions in the 3700–4200 MHz band and the 2022 re-allocation declaration decision for the 3.4/3.7 GHz bands.
As a result of these decisions, we are introducing arrangements in the 3.8 GHz band to support local area wireless broadband services on a shared basis with fixed satellite and point-to-point services.
On 20 June 2023, we began consultation on:
- the proposed technical framework
- licence tax arrangements
- licence tenure and renewal
- 2 options for the approach to allocating AWLs in the 3.8 GHz band.
This consultation included proposed amendments to the Radiocommunications Advisory Guidelines (Managing Interference from Spectrum Licensed Transmitters — 3.4 GHz Band) 2015 (the RAG Tx). The proposed amendments were relevant to both the 3.8 GHz AWL and 3.4 GHz band spectrum licensing technical frameworks. The consultation closed on 1 August 2023.
Status: On 4 October 2023, we released the public submissions to this consultation. We made the Radiocommunications Advisory Guidelines (Managing Interference from Spectrum Licensed Transmitters – 3.4 GHz Band) Variation 2023 (No. 2).
We also released an outcomes paper.
We aim to announce outcomes for all remaining issues in Q1 2024.
Previous spectrum tune-ups: 3.4–4.0 GHz frequency range
In March 2022, we held a spectrum tune-up covering planning issues outlined in our consultations on the proposed spectrum re-allocation declaration for the 3.4 and 3.7 GHz bands, and the allocation of AWLs in 3.4–4.0 GHz frequency range. Read the Q&As from the March 2022 tune-up.
In July 2022, we held another tune-up on auction design matters for the 3.4 and 3.7 GHz bands auction. It also included technical framework matters relevant to the 3.4–4.0 GHz frequency range. Read the Q&As from the July 2022 tune-up.
In February 2023, we held a third tune-up discussing the policy settings in our consultation on the draft instruments for the 3.4 and 3.7 GHz bands auction. Read the Q&As from the February 2023 tune-up.
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