Technical framework for area-wide apparatus licences in the 26 and 28 GHz bands
The technical framework for area-wide apparatus licences (AWLs) in the frequency range 24.7–30 GHz (the 26/28 GHz bands) sets out the minimum conditions and arrangements that allow coexistence with other services operating in and adjacent to the 26/28 GHz bands. The conditions or arrangements are:
- on individually issued licences
- in the Radiocommunications Licence Conditions (Area-Wide Licence) Determination 2020 (AWL LCD)
- in the policy document Radiocommunications Assignment and Licensing Instruction MS46 (RALI MS46)
- in the Radiocommunications Licence Conditions (Apparatus Licence) Determination 2015, which contains conditions for all apparatus licences.
The technical framework operates using these 3 steps:
Step 1: Determine your needs, then apply for a licence
Define the area and frequency range first:
- Unlike most other types of apparatus licences, AWLs are issued before device coordination. You will need to know the area and frequency range you wish to operate in before applying for an AWL.
- Go to the ACMA’s Register of Radiocommunications Licences to check if your desired geographical area(s) and frequency range(s) are available.
- Additional spectrum and/or area may be required so that operation complies with all requirements at the frequency and area boundaries of the licence (detailed in the AWL LCD and RALI MS46). This will make sure that enough ‘spectrum space’ (geographic area and bandwidth) is licensed.
- The spectrum you apply for should align with the assignment rules in RALI MS46. If the spectrum does not meet the assignment rules, you should obtain out-of-policy approval from us before applying. Please email APenquiries@acma.gov.au.
Apply to the ACMA:
- Chapter 4 of RALI MS46 contains the basic arrangements for AWLs in the 26/28 GHz bands.
- See the Applicant information pack for AWLs in the 26/28 GHz bands for how to apply and how we assess applications.
- You should engage an Accredited Person to assist with your application.
- Attach a copy of any out-of-policy approval given by us to your application.
- More information on licence applications and tax calculations is provided below.
After you apply:
- After we receive your application, we will send you an invoice for the application fee.
- After we approve your licence, we will send you an invoice for the apparatus licence tax. The licence will only be issued once the apparatus licence tax is paid.
- You may only operate a transmitter once your licence is issued (and all conditions below are met).
Follow the conditions and registration requirements – see next steps.
Step 2: Coordinate and register the transmitter
Before registration, meet the requirements in Chapter 3 of RALI MS46. These include:
- Coordinating with existing services – see sections 3.1, 3.4 and 3.6 of RALI MS46.
- Implementing operational limitations to facilitate coexistence with other services (for example, meeting the power flux density limit at the geographic boundary of the licence, where applicable) – see sections 3.3 and 3.5 of RALI MS46.
- Complying with arrangements detailed in other documents to be met prior to registration – see sections 3.2 and 3.7 of RALI M46.
Register the transmitter:
- Meet the requirements in Chapter 3 of RALI MS46 before you register the transmitter.
- Engage an Accredited Person to register the device in the Register of Radiocommunications Licence.
- You must register your transmitter before operation, unless it is exempt. Schedule 1 Paragraph 4 of the AWL LCD shows the types of transmitters that are exempt from registration – registration-exempt transmitters still must comply with other applicable licence conditions (see Step 3).
Step 3: Follow the operating conditions
- Conditions are in the AWL LCD, on the licence and in RALI MS46.
- All transmitters (including transmitters exempt from registration) must comply with conditions where applicable, including:
- Maximum power levels (within the licensed frequency range and in adjacent frequencies) – see paragraphs 1 and 15 of Schedule 1 of the AWL LCD.
- Limitations of emissions above the horizon and antenna-pointing requirements in certain frequency ranges and geographic areas – see paragraph 10 of Schedule 1 of the AWL LCD.
- Limitations of transmitters operating in certain geographic areas, and the operation of certain types of transmitters – see paragraphs 2, 3 and 11 of Schedule 1 of the AWL LCD.
- Earth station transmitters may only be operated after ITU regulatory status checks have been completed and where minimum antenna requirements are met – see section 3.2 of RALI MS46.
- Outdoor transmitters with a total radiated power of greater than 23 dBm per occupied bandwidth need to be coordinated with space research service earth stations (including transmitters exempt from registration) – see section 3.4 of RALI MS46.
- Obligations for licensees to help manage and resolve interference – see paragraphs 6, 7, 8, 9 and 12 of Schedule 1 of the AWL LCD.
Please note: This information is intended as a guide only and should not be relied on as legal advice or to replace detailed analysis by licensees and prospective licensees. Licensees and prospective licensees may wish to seek their own legal and engineering advice to determine what the current regulatory framework is and how it applies to your situation.
Applications for area-wide licences in 26 GHz and 28 GHz bands
The first round of area-wide licences (AWLs) issued in the 24.7–25.1 GHz (lower 400 MHz band) and 27.5–30 GHz (28 GHz band) frequency ranges is complete and licences have been uploaded to the ACMA’s Register of Radiocommunications Licences.
As outlined in the 28 GHz Applicant information pack, we are accepting applications for AWLs in the frequency ranges 24.7–25.1 GHz and 27.5–30 GHz.
Applications for 26 GHz licences in non-designated areas
The first round of applications for 26 GHz area-wide licences in the 25.1–27.5 GHz range in non-designated areas (that is, non-spectrum licensed areas) opened at 10 am, Monday 17 May 2021 and closed 5 pm, Monday 31 May 2021.
The application and assessment process is outlined on pages 5–8 of the Applicant information pack (available below). The ACMA is currently finalising the issue of licences from the application process. Details of licences issued will be available on the Register of Radiocommunications Licences.
Following completion of the application process, the ACMA will invite applications for licences in remaining available spectrum and geographical areas.
Applicants should use the 26 GHz and 28 GHz area-wide licence application form. Licences will be issued on a first-in-time basis.
Successful applicants will be advised of our assessment within 2 weeks of their application. If the application overlaps with a previously submitted application (that is, a licence that is expected to be issued, but has not yet been processed completely), the later applicant will be invited to submit a revised application that does not overlap.
Licences will only be issued after the invoice has been paid and will commence within 30 days from the date of issue.
Current AWL licensees who wish to add or subtract HCIS cells from their licence can also apply to vary their licence via the first-in-time process. If a licensee wants to add HCIS cells that are not contiguous with the existing AWL areas, the licensee will need to apply for a new licence.
Before you apply
Applicants should read the documents that set out:
- the allocation process
- the technical framework
- the amounts of tax and charges.
These may be different in some places to the arrangements we discussed in the proposed licensing arrangements in the 26 GHz and 28 GHz bands consultation.
Applicant information pack
The applicant information pack (AIP) is a guide for those applying for an AWL. It has details of the allocation processes for AWLs in the 26 GHz and 28 GHz bands. You should read this before making an application.
Tax calculator and calculator guide
The AWL tax calculator will help you to estimate the annual tax amounts for AWLs in the 26 and 28 GHz bands. This tax calculator guide will help you use it. The calculator has been updated from the one we provided with our consultation documents. It now lets you calculate total tax when aggregating different bandwidths with different geographic cell combinations
The tax calculator does not include the issue charge or renewal fee for the AWL.
To support AWLs in the 26 and 28 GHz bands, we have made changes to the ACMA’s hierarchical cell identification scheme (HCIS) to add two additional layers. The HCIS provides an alphanumeric reference to areas described in the Australian spectrum map grid (ASMG).
The HCIS converter will help you visualise the geographic area covered by the HCIS cells that you wish to apply for.
If you have questions, email AWLenquires@acma.gov.au or contact our Customer Service Centre on 1300 850 115.
Information provided by the applicant or authorised representative in the application form that is marked with a caret (^) is required by section 147 of the Radiocommunications Act to be disclosed to the public by the ACMA in the Register of Radiocommunications Licences. The ACMA will disclose the contents of the Register by making it available for inspection at any ACMA office and on its website.
Any information provided by applicants that is not required to be disclosed on the Register will be considered commercial in confidence. Except as required or authorised by law, the ACMA will not disclose commercially confidential information. The ACMA has discretion under its enabling legislation to release authorised disclosure information to other government entities, for example the ACCC, our Minister and official of the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, and Communications. For more information, see our information sharing guide.