Major spectrum decisions for 4G and 5G | ACMA

Major spectrum decisions for 4G and 5G

Hazy Spectrum lines

5G mobile broadband services have come a step closer in Australia, with the Australian Communications and Media Authority releasing key decisions to make more spectrum available for spectrum licensing.

The ACMA is commencing processes to re-allocate spectrum in the 3.6 GHz band and to move to more efficient arrangements in the 900MHz band for advanced mobile broadband technologies.

‘The 3.6 GHz band is being looked at internationally as a pioneer band for 5G mobile broadband. We want to make sure Australia is well placed to realise the benefits 5G has to offer,’ said the ACMA Chair, Nerida O’Loughlin.

‘Enabling 5G services to commence in this band also fulfils a key commitment in the Government’s recent directions paper, 5G – Enabling the future economy.’

‘We have undertaken extensive consultations on the future of the 3.6 GHz band and considered the circumstances of current users and aspirant licensees in determining the proposed arrangements for this re-allocation.’

‘Now that 2G services have been or are being switched off, the ACMA is also keen to re-farm the 900 MHz GSM band and optimise its utility for newer generation mobile broadband services, such as 4G. We propose to do this over a number of years to avoid disruption of existing services. We also plan to make available additional spectrum already planned for reallocation to mobile broadband in the 850MHz band,’ Ms O’Loughlin added.

The reviews of the 3.6 GHz and 900 MHz bands have been key priorities for the ACMA and form a key part of its future work priorities, outlined in the Five-year spectrum outlook 2017–21 (the FYSO) also released today. Highlights of the FYSO include:

  • for the first time, detailed information about the ACMA’s forward work plan for spectrum allocations, in the form of possible scenarios for auction timing and sequencing
  • an outline of the ACMA’s proposed Spectrum Review implementation activities, intended to be co-designed with industry
  • a proposed approach to the development of future annual spectrum work programs, including planned public consultation prior to their finalisation.

‘We are using this year’s FYSO to start a broader conversation with spectrum users about our spectrum work priorities. One of the first opportunities for industry to express their views is our RadComms conference on 1–2 November.’

For more information see Backgrounder or contact: Emma Rossi, Media Manager, (02) 9334 7719, 0434 652 063 or

Media release 34/2017 - 25 October

Last updated: 26 February 2019