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Area-wide apparatus licensing in the 3.4–4.0 GHz band

Technical framework for area-wide apparatus licences in the 3.4–4.0 GHz band

The technical framework for area-wide apparatus licences (AWLs) in the frequency range 3.4–4.0 GHz sets out the minimum conditions and arrangements that allow coexistence with other services operating in, and adjacent to, the 3.4–4.0 GHz band.  The conditions or arrangements are:

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 MS47). 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 MS47. 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:

  • RALI MS47 contains the arrangements for AWLs in the 3.4–4.0 GHz band. AWLs are currently available only in specified remote areas.
  • See the information below under ‘Applications for area-wide licences (AWLs) in the 3.4–4.0 GHz band’ and the Applicant information pack for AWLs in the 3.4–4.0 GHz band 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. We will issue your licence after the apparatus licence tax is paid.
  • You may only operate a transmitter after your licence is issued (and all conditions below are met).

Step 2: Coordinate and register the transmitter

First, meet the requirements in Chapter 3 of RALI MS47. 

These include:

  • Coordinating with existing services.
  • Implementing operational restrictions or limitations to facilitate coexistence with other services (for example, with radio altimeters near identified airports).
  • Complying with arrangements detailed in other documents before registration.

Register the transmitter:

  • Meet the requirements in Chapter 3 of RALI MS47 before you register the transmitter.
  • Engage an accredited person to register the device in the ACMA’s Register of Radiocommunications Licences.
  • You must register your transmitter before operation, unless it is exempt. Schedule 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 MS47.
  • 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 Schedule 4 of the AWL LCD
    • coexistence with radio altimeters – see RALI MS47.
    • obligations for licensees to help manage and resolve interference – see Schedule 4 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.

Note also that this framework is reviewed and updated periodically.

Applications for area-wide licences (AWLs) in the 3.4–4.0 GHz band

Applications for AWLs in the 3.4–4.0 GHz band in remote areas have closed and we are now assessing applications.

Once all licences issued as part of this process have been uploaded to the RRL, we will invite applications for remaining available spectrum/geographic areas on a ‘first in time’ basis.

Get the latest licensing news by subscribing to our 3.4–4.0 GHz ACMA update.

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 3.4–4.0 GHz band. You should read this before making an application.

Tax calculator and calculator guide

The AWL tax calculator and guide will help you to estimate the annual tax amounts for AWLs in the 3.4 GHz band.  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. 

Area-wide licence (AWL) calculator and guide

HCIS converter

The ACMA’s hierarchical cell identification scheme (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.

More information

If you have questions, email info@acma.gov.au or call our Customer Service Centre on 1300 850 115.

Commercial information

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 1992 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, the minister and officials of the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts. For more information, see our information sharing guide.

Privacy information

Find out more about the ACMA’s privacy policy.

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