Making the most of the 3.5 GHz band in future | ACMA

Making the most of the 3.5 GHz band in future

IFC24/2014 Making the most of the 3.5 GHz band in future

Submissions received

The submission period for the ACMA's consultation paper on possible future licensing arrangements in the 3.5 GHz band (the 3400–3600 MHz frequency range)  has now closed. The ACMA released the consultation paper on 18 June 2014, with comments closing on 30 July 2014.

The ACMA received the following submissions:

  • Australian Subscription Television and Radio Association (ASTRA)
  • BigAir Group Limited
  • Carlo Gnaccarini
  • Communications Alliance
  • David Learmonth
  • Department of Defence
  • Douglas Hunter
  • Ericsson
  • Foxtel
  • Gary Beech
  • Global TD-LTE Initiative
  • HKT Limited
  • Ian McDonald
  • Inmarsat
  • Intelsat
  • Luciano Blasco
  • NBN Co
  • Optus
  • Paul Hughes
  • Phil Moat
  • Qualcomm
  • Telstra
  • UK Broadband Ltd
  • Wireless Institute of Australia
  • Background

    About the band

    The 3.5 GHz band currently has a mix of apparatus and spectrum licences. These authorise a variety of services including wireless broadband, fixed, mobile, satellite and amateur services. The spectrum-licensed part of the band is known as the 3.4 GHz band.

    Internationally, there are indications that use of the band may be changing. This is beginning to put pressure on the band’s current arrangements in Australia. However, there is uncertainty about what uses the band may be put to in Australia in the future. And it could be another three to four years before any certainty emerges.

    The ACMA’s response to the complexity and growing pressures associated with the 3.5 GHz band is to look at implementing new arrangements that will maximise the band’s future flexibility.

    The options

    The ACMA’s has released a consultation paper that identifies four broad options for the 3.5 GHz band when current 3.4 GHz band spectrum licences expire on 13 December 2015. The options are:

    • the status quo—maintain existing spectrum and apparatus licensing arrangements
    • extend spectrum licensing into more or all of the 3.5 GHz band
    • extend apparatus licensing into more or all of the 3.5 GHz band
    • a hybrid model involving an extension of both apparatus and spectrum licensing.

    Preliminary view

    The ACMA’s preliminary view is that the best way to achieve increased regulatory flexibility may be to extend apparatus licensing throughout the 3.5 GHz band. This is because current arrangements do not align with internationally harmonised standards for the band. Alignment can only be achieved by replanning and spectrum licensing does not have the regulatory flexibility to allow the ACMA to undertake that replanning, even if affected spectrum licensees asked for it.

    However, the ACMA may change its view on the most appropriate arrangements for the band after it considers stakeholder submissions.


    Send your submission on matters raised in the consultation paper:

    By email:

    By mail:
    Spectrum Licensing Policy Section
    Australian Communications and Media Authority
    PO Box 78
    Canberra ACT 2616

    The closing date for submissions is close of business on 30 July 2014.

    Any queries about the consultation paper should be directed to or by telephone to the Manager, Spectrum Licensing Policy Section on (02) 6219 5325.

    Media enquiries should be directed to Blake Murdoch on (02) 9334 7817 and 0434 567 391 or by email to

    Publication of submissions

    In general, the ACMA publishes all submissions it receives, including any personal information in the submissions (such as names and contact details of submitters). The ACMA prefers to receive submissions which are not claimed to be confidential. However, the ACMA accepts that a submitter may sometimes wish to provide information in confidence. In these circumstances, submitters are asked to identify the material (including any personal information) over which confidentiality is claimed and provide a written explanation for the claim. The ACMA will consider each confidentiality claim on a case-by-case basis. If the ACMA accepts a claim, it will not publish the confidential information unless authorised or required by law to do so.

    Release of submissions where authorised or required by law

    Any submissions provided to the ACMA may be released under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (unless an exemption applies) or shared with other Australian Government agencies and certain other parties under Part 7A of the Australian Communications and Media Authority Act 2005. The ACMA may also be required to release submissions for other reasons including for the purpose of parliamentary processes or where otherwise required by law (for example, under a court subpoena). While the ACMA seeks to consult submitters of confidential information before that information is provided to another party, the ACMA cannot guarantee that confidential information will not be released through these or other legal means.


    The Privacy Act 1988 imposes obligations on the ACMA in relation to the collection, security, quality, access, use and disclosure of personal information. These obligations are detailed in the Australian Privacy Principles that apply to organisations and Australian Government agencies from 12 March 2014.

    The ACMA may only collect personal information if it is reasonably necessary for, or directly related to, one or more of its functions or activities.

    The purposes for which personal information is being collected (such as the names and contact details of submitters) are to:

    • contribute to the transparency of the consultation process by clarifying, where appropriate, whose views are represented by a submission
    • enable the ACMA to contact submitters where follow-up is required or to notify them of related matters (except where submitters indicate they do not wish to be notified of such matters).

    The ACMA will not use the personal information collected for any other purpose, unless the submitter has provided their consent or the ACMA is otherwise permitted to do so under the Privacy Act.

    Submissions in response to this paper are voluntary. As mentioned above, the ACMA generally publishes all submissions it receives, including any personal information in the submissions. If a submitter has made a confidentiality claim over personal information which the ACMA has accepted, the submission will be published without that information. The ACMA will not release the personal information unless authorised or required by law to do so.

    If a submitter wishes to make a submission anonymously or through use a pseudonym, they are asked to contact the ACMA to see whether it is practicable to do so in light of the subject matter of the consultation. If it is practicable, the ACMA will notify the submitter of any procedures that need to be followed and whether there are any other consequences of making a submission in that way. 

    Further information on the Privacy Act and the ACMA’s privacy policy is available until 11 March 2014 at and from 12 March 2014 at The privacy policy contains details about how an individual may access personal information about them that is held by the ACMA, and seek the correction of such information. It also explains how an individual may complain about a breach of the Privacy Act and how the ACMA will deal with such a complaint.

Last updated: 14 February 2018