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Auction summary - 500 MHz band (1997)

Quick summary

The 500 MHz band spectrum licences were allocated in 1997 by auction with 838 lots offered, ranging in bandwidth from 12.5 kHz to 1 MHz in a number of areas. The auction concluded after 64 rounds on 25 March 1997 and all but one of the 13 participants in the auction were successful in acquiring licences. At the close of the allocation some of the auction lots remained. Applications for the residual lots were then invited quarterly, commencing in January 2004. Some 500 MHz spectrum licences that expired on 31 May 2007 were subsequently also re-offered for sale. The quarterly residual rounds were discontinued after round 22, which closed in May 2009.

The spectrum licences for 500 MHz band (500.99375-504.99375 MHz and 510.99375-514.99375 MHz) expired on 31 May 2012. These frequencies were included in the review of the 400 MHz band, an outcome of this review was that spectrum licensing in the 500 MHz band would cease when licences expired on 31 May 2012. The 500 MHz band is now subject to apparatus licensing.

Auction date 3 February to 25 March 1997 (regional areas)
Amount raised $1,074,679.70
Licence expiry 31 May 2012

Results

 
Winning bidder Winning price
Telstra  $285,500.97
Optus Mobile Ltd $8,286.50
Amos Aked Swift Pty Ltd $4,140.00
Simoco Pacific Pty Ltd $500,730.00
Commex Communications Corporation Pty Ltd $7,804.00
Airdata Prime Contractors Organisation Pty Ltd $32,775.00
Mr Mark Edwards $2,007.00
Link Telecommunications Pty Ltd No winning bids
Deluxe Red and Yellow Cabs Co-Operative Trading Society Pty Ltd $123,005.00
Trio Communications 2000 Pty Ltd $9,324.00
Mr Paul Gillbanks $18,472.75
Mrs Susan Boog $16,622.48
Standard White Cabs Ltd $19,712.00
Total $1,028,379.70

Allocation of residual spectrum

Applications for allocation of the remaining spectrum lots in the 500 MHz bands were invited quarterly between January 2004 and May 2009. The results of these quarterly rounds are shown in the table below.

Lot locations: Cairns, Townsville, Brisbane, Northern Rivers, Newcastle, Sydney / Wollongong, Central West NSW, Canberra/South Coast, Regional Victoria, Melbourne, Tasmania, Adelaide, South West WA, and the Pilbara region.

Round

Close

Applications

Lots Sold

Winning price

01

29/1/2004

0

0 – no applications received

0

02

29/4/2004

0

0 – no applications received

0

03

29/7/2004

0

0 – no applications received

0

04

28/10/2004

0

0 – no applications received

0

05

27/1/2005

0

0 – no applications received

0

06

28/4/2005

0

0 – no applications received

0

07

28/7/2005

0

0 – no applications received

0

08

27/10/2005

0

0 – no applications received

0

09

25/1/2006 

09

0 – no applications received

0

10

26/4/2006

0

0 – no applications received

0

11

26/7/2006

0

0 – no applications received

0

12

25/10/2006

1

3 – Canberra/South Coast – YLESS4U Pty Ltd (75 kHz and 2 x 100 kHz)

$5,500

13

28/02/2007

1

2 – Brisbane – Commex Communications Corp Pty Ltd (2 x 100 kHz)

$12,000

14

30/05/2007

1

1 – Northern Rivers – Commex Communications Corporation Pty Ltd (25 kHz)
2 – Cairns – Commex Communications Corporation Pty Ltd (25 kHz)

$360

15

29/08/2007

2

8 – Newcastle – Master Communications and Electronics Pty Ltd (2 x 12.5 kHz, 2 x 75 kHz, 2 x 25 kHz and 2 x 37.5 kHz) $7,440
6 – Sydney – Master Communications and Electronics Pty Ltd (2 x 12.5 kHz, 2 x 25 kHz, 2 x 37.5 kHz) $9,000.
2 – Melbourne – I2way Australasia Pty Limited (2 x 100 kHz) $12,000

$28,440

16

28/11/2007

0

0 – no applications received

0

17

27/02/2008

0

0 – no applications received

0

18

28/08/2008

0

0 – no applications received

0

19

27/8/2008

0

0 – no applications received

0

20

26/11/2008

0

0 – no applications received

0

21

25/2/2009

0

0 – no applications received

0

22

27/5/2009

0

0 – no applications received

0

Total:     $46,300

Spectrum details

Band details 500 MHz Lower band 500.99375-504.99375 MHz
500 MHz Upper band 510.99375-514.99375 MHz
(2 x 4 MHz suitable for pairing but sold unpaired)
Licence type spectrum licences
Previous use Australia's first public automatic mobile telephone system (PAMTS) - a pre-cellular telephone car phone system operated by Telecom Australia.
Digital Radio Concentrator Service (DRCS) rural telephone provision.
Licence period Initially 10 years - all but 4 licences extended to 15 years in 2000

 

Allocation details

Type of allocation Price based allocation of spectrum licences under s60 following designation for spectrum licensing under s36 of the Radiocommunications Act 1992.
Method of sale Simultaneous multiple round auction over 64 rounds in 1997 followed by sale of residual spectrum by pre-determined price or open outcry auction.
Competition limits Nil
Allocation information
Technical information
Related information

 

Background

The 500 MHz auction conducted in 1997 was the first ever allocation by simultaneous ascending auction in Australia, and the first ever allocation of technology flexible spectrum licences in the world.

When the Minister originally designated the 500 MHz bands for allocation by issuing spectrum licences, his notice included 2 by 0.4 MHz in remote inland Australia (blocks A and E). Inland Australia (known as Central Australia in the various instruments) excludes all major population centres and is similar to the area not covered by regional and capital commercial TV areas. At the request of Telstra, the Australian Communications Authority (ACA) withheld this spectrum from allocation in 1999. It was excluded due to the presence of Telstra’s digital rural concentrator services (DRCS) repeater stations (as are some frequencies in Cairns and Townsville). A more precise definition of Central Australia can be found in the Radiocommunications (Spectrum Designation) Notice No.1 of 1996 (Amendment No.1 of 1999).

The 500 MHz spectrum allocated was suitable for any type of radiocommunications service including:

  • mobile two-way radiocommunications
  • trunked radio systems where channels are pooled and a number of operators share the radiofrequencies
  • remote data acquisition
  • associated control functions

For the purposes of the 500 MHz band auction, auction lots of different bandwidths covering different geographic areas were developed to allow bidders to acquire as much or as little coverage as required to operate their service.

In 1997, the maximum term of spectrum licences was set under the Radiocommunications Act at 10 years so spectrum licences in the 500 MHz band were initially issued for a period of 10 years from 1997 to 2007. Following an amendment to the Act in 1999, which extended the maximum spectrum licence period to 15 years, 500 MHz spectrum licensees were offered the chance to increase their licence term to 15 years (that is 1997-2012). Most licensees chose to accept that offer. However, four licensees decided to continue with 10 year term and so their spectrum licences expired on 31 May 2007.

In July 1999, the ACA invited expressions of interest for spectrum in the 500 MHz band that was unsold at the 1997 auction in the following areas: Cairns, Townsville, Northern Rivers, Newcastle, Sydney, Central West NSW, Canberra/South Coast, Regional Victoria, Tasmania, South West WA, and the Pilbara region. This residual spectrum was offered via recurring quarterly auctions that commenced in January 2004. The term of any spectrum licences issued was adjusted so that the expiry date was the same as the extended 1997 auction licences: i.e. 31 May 2012.

In February 2006, the ACMA invited expressions of interest in acquiring the 500 MHz spectrum licences due to expire on 31 May 2007. The expiring licences had geographic coverage in the Adelaide, Melbourne, Central West NSW, Canberra/South Coast, Sydney/Wollongong, Newcastle, Northern Rivers, Brisbane, Cairns areas. The spectrum made available by the expiry of these licences was offered to the market, commencing in the first quarter of 2007, by including it along with remaining unsold lots from the 1997 auction in the recurring quarterly residual spectrum auctions. Once again, the terms of any resultant spectrum licences would be adjusted to retain a common expiry date for all 500 MHz spectrum licences of 31 May 2012.

No applications for residual spectrum were received after August 2007. The quarterly residual spectrum allocations were discontinued after round 22 in May 2009.

The Spectrum licences for 500 MHz band (500.99375-504.99375 MHz and 510.99375-514.99375 MHz) expired on 31 May 2012. A review of 400 MHz band included these 500 MHz band frequencies. As an outcome of this review the then Minister revoked the Radiocommunications (Spectrum Designation) Notice No. 1 of 1996 for these frequencies on 1 June 2012 and the 500 MHz band frequencies became subject to apparatus licensing.

 

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