Skip to main content

Q&As: Our work in the 3.4-4.0 GHz band

On 29 March 2022, we held a tune-up to discuss our consultations on the re-allocation of the 3.4 GHz and 3.7 GHz bands, and our allocation of area-wide apparatus licences (AWLs) in the 3.4-4.0 GHz band. Responses to questions are posted here.

Proposed spectrum re-allocation declaration for the 3.4 GHz and 3.7 GHz bands (IFC 10/2022)

Planning arrangements

The ACMA’s current planning arrangements proposal for the 3.4–3.8 GHz frequency range is to impose the restricted use band spectrum earmarked for apparatus licensing. Would the ACMA consider implementing the restricted use band so that it straddles both spectrum-licensed and apparatus-licensed space?

When it comes to existing spectrum licences, we cannot impose such conditions on licensees without their agreement. Our current proposal is for the restricted-use band to be absorbed by the apparatus-licensed space in the 3.4-4.0 GHz frequency range.

This is why we want to minimise the amount of spectrum encompassed by restricted-use bands. The overall quantum of restricted-use bands under our preferred planning approach is only up to 15 MHz. Whereas, under the other planning arrangement options, there could be up to 45 MHz of spectrum encompassed by restricted-use bands.

Is there also 50 MHz less spectrum available for spectrum licensing in the major regional centres 1 geographic area under the ACMA’s preferred planning option (i.e., Option 3)?

This is correct. To summarise, under Option 3 the change in the total amount of spectrum proposed for spectrum licensing (compared to Option 1) for each area is as follows:


Total proposed for SL

Difference to Option 1

Regional WA Central

100 MHz

50 MHz more

Major regional centres 1

0 MHz

50 MHz less

Major regional centres 2

100 MHz

No change

Regional area 1

117.5 MHz

17.5 MHz more

Regional area 2

85 MHz

15 MHz less


100 MHz

No change

It would be good to see some better discussion on Enterprise WBB allocations. Can the ACMA explain what is intended?

We recognise there are different WBB use-cases and users; these are addressed by providing varied arrangements for WA WBB, LA WBB and private network/enterprise users across the 3400–4000 MHz band. In the presentation, the term ‘restricted cell LA WBB’ was used and the intention was that this could cater for private network/enterprise users. We propose several different options to cater for such use. We welcome stakeholder input on this issue in submissions to the consultation process.

Proposed spectrum re-allocation declaration

Is Hobart considered metropolitan or regional in the proposed re-allocation declaration consultation package?

For historical reasons, Hobart is considered a part of the regional area (in a broader geographic area called major regional centres 2) and is not spectrum-licensed in parts of the 3.4 GHz band. Therefore, it is being considered for re-allocation in parts of the 3.4 GHz band where the major regional centres 2 area is proposed for re-allocation.

Hobart is also proposed for re-allocation in the 3750–3800 MHz frequency range, where we are proposing only metropolitan areas be declared for re-allocation. There is high demand for spectrum in Hobart, so it could be considered a metropolitan area.

We will look at simplifying this in the re-allocation declaration instrument and in future consultations on this work.

Is the remote area being considered in the allocation of AWLs in the 3.4–4.0 GHz frequency range different to the ‘Remote Australia’ geographic area referred to in the Proposed spectrum re-allocation declaration for the 3.4 GHz and 3.7 GHz bands consultation paper?

Yes. The remote area in the 3.4–4.0 GHz frequency range relevant to the allocation of AWLs is defined by HCIS in that paper, which is different from the HCIS provided for ‘Remote Australia’ in the re-allocation declaration consultation paper. We will look at renaming this geographic area in order to avoid confusion.

Will there be an opportunity to comment on a draft re-allocation declaration instrument?

We will not be consulting on a draft version of the re-allocation declaration.

The re-allocation declaration instrument will define all of the terms that Part 3.6 of the Radiocommunications Act 1992 requires us to include. The proposed 3.4 GHz and 3.7 GHz spectrum re-allocation declaration consultation paper outlines our initial views on the terms of the re-allocation declaration, that is:

  • the type of licence to be issued as a result of the re-allocation process
  • the parts of the spectrum to be re-allocated defined by reference to frequency boundaries and geographic areas
  • the re-allocation period
  • the re-allocation deadline.

The re-allocation declaration will be made based on the outcomes of this consultation.

Are there any aspects of the current process where there are final decisions and no further opportunity for consultation?

The terms of the re-allocation declaration (that is, the type of licence to be issued, the parts of the spectrum to be declared for re-allocation, the re-allocation period and re-allocation deadline) will be informed by the outcomes of this consultation.

In addition to the terms of the re-allocation declaration, we are consulting on the other matters relevant to a possible auction of the spectrum, including auction methodology, lot configuration, and licence term. There will be further opportunity to comment on these aspects of the process during the draft allocation instruments consultation later this year.

What other instruments and documents will be produced as part of the allocation preparation and what is the indicative timing for consultation?

Our next steps for the re-allocation of the 3.4/3.7 GHz bands are outlined in the table below.

Table 1: Indicative timetable*



Public consultation on proposal to re-allocate spectrum in the 3.4 GHz and 3.7 GHz bands.

2 March to 27 April 2022

Subject to the outcome of consultations, make a re‑allocation declaration in accordance with section 153B of the Act.


Release draft allocation and technical instruments for public comment.

Q4 2022

Commence auction process.


* These steps are subject to the outcome of the consultation.

Will the ACMA stop issuing new fixed satellite services (FSS) licences in the 3.4 GHz and 3.7 GHz bands when a re-allocation declaration is made?

All new FSS licences are still subject to Embargo 78. A future review is scheduled for this policy document and changes are not yet decided.

Any new apparatus licence applications received after the re-allocation period starts are subject to special circumstances consideration by the ACMA.

Allocation of area-wide apparatus licences in the 3.4-4.0 GHz band in remote areas (IFC 11/2022)

Satellite providers are concerned about the technical coordination requirements set in the draft RALI MS47. There are assumptions in the draft that cause problems:

  • Filtering of the stations will be the same as below and above as the station receivers.
  • As carrier frequency changes, filters can be changed.
  • There might be only one carrier.

We are aware of these issues and invite stakeholder submissions on the technical coordination of earth stations to ensure the technical arrangements are fit-for-purpose and practical to implement.

What is the timing of completion of the technical liaison group (TLG) work?

We aim to finalise the technical framework in other areas in time for the future allocations. The timing for the TLG to resume has not yet been set. We are considering an optimal timing, potentially after the remote allocation and/or the re-allocation declaration is made (currently expected to be mid-year 2022). We are mindful about the timing and will keep stakeholders informed about future opportunities for involvement and consultation.

Will there be a problem with radio altimeters and the use of C-band spectrum, given the current situation overseas in the U.S?

As per our fact sheet on the issue, there have been no confirmed cases of 5G interference to radio altimeters in Australia. Our intent is to ensure there will not be issues between future AWLs and radio altimeters. We have a 200 MHz guard band and are now considering whether any additional mitigations are needed. There are, however, different views on the levels of risk involved. That is why we have proposed 2 approaches to mitigating the risk.

We continue to work with Australian stakeholders, and regulators in other countries, to learn about the potential risks, and whether additional mitigations are required. There is also ongoing intergovernmental discussion regarding this issue.   

We welcome stakeholder input on this issue.

Back to top