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Auction summary - 800 MHz TLMS apparatus licences (1999)

Quick summary

The purpose of this auction, conducted by the former Australian Communications Authority (ACA) at its offices in Melbourne was to allocate the last two blocks of five channels in the 800 MHz trunked land mobile service (TLMS) bands in Melbourne. Each lot offered the winner the right to have their application for apparatus licences considered by the ACA and for licences to be awarded subject to technical coordination.

The auction, which closed on 3 May 1999, saw only two applicants register to bid. The reserve price set for each lot was $5,000 and bidding was spirited up to the $20,000 level. The lots were sold at $20,500 and $26,500 to Motorola Australia Pty Ltd at a total of $47,000.

Auction date 3 May 1999
Amount raised $47,000
Licence expiry Varies – apparatus licences with periods of up to 5 years and the possibility of renewal were issued


Motorola Australia Pty Ltd at a total of $47,000.

Spectrum details

Band details 10x25 kHz channels from the 820-825 MHz/865-869 MHz trunked land mobile services (TLMS) band in Melbourne
Licence type Apparatus licences
Previous use Unallocated land mobile spectrum
Licence period up to 5 years



In 1999, there were 40 groups of 5 channels planned in the trunked land mobile service (TLMS) in the 800 MHz band. All groups had been allocated in Sydney but two groups were still available in Melbourne. In other cities, the supply of TLMS channels exceeded demand.

TLMS is a dynamic communications system where users automatically share the use of a common pool of radio channels. Channels are assigned on demand for the length of a call and when a call is completed the channels are returned to the pool for reassignment. This is a more efficient use of spectrum than single channel systems as more mobile systems can be accommodated on the same number of channels.

Apparatus licences for these channels had traditionally been allocated over the counter, and that remained the Australian Communications Authority’s (ACA) standard practice where the supply exceeded demand. However, because more applications were received for TLMS channels in Melbourne than the two groups available, the ACA decided to undertake a price-based allocation under s106 of the Radiocommunications Act 1992 to equitably allocate the remaining channels. The auction was held on 3 May 1999 and raised $47,000 on the sale to Motorola of the right to apply for licences for the exclusive use of the 10 channels in Melbourne.

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