Radio spectrum for mobile phone services in Australia was first auctioned in 1997. Subsequently, spectrum was divided and traded between players to support new mobile services, most notably high speed mobile data services using HSPA or 3G frequencies. More recently, the focus has shifted to spectrum for services based on WiMAX and LTE technologies. Following a dormant period between 2007 and 2011, a number of significant auctions have been held, particularly in the 2GHz band for regional and rural areas, as well as in the 2.3GHz band in mid-2011.
Discussion about the ‘Digital Dividend’ started to direct policy decisions which will see spectrum currently used for analogue broadcasting being made available for mobile (broadband) services. This spectrum re-usage has resulted in further auctions. The 700MHz and 2.5GHzbands were auctioned in April 2013 using a CCA (Combinatorial Clock Auction). This auction had been deferred from November 2012 by the government. The additional spectrum is useable from 2015.
There were also bandwidth limits imposed on the digital dividend spectrum to stop monopolisation (for more information see chapter 2.2.2). A review of existing licenses issued in the 1990s is also under way before their renewal later in 2013.
In this report we review the major spectrum auctions in Australia in recent years. Coverage includes auctions across the late 1990s early to mid-2000s with prices dropping for the 2006 allotments through to the latest auctions in 2011 and 2013, as well as proposed auction conditions for the remaining 700MHz allocations.
Optus, AAPT, Vodafone, Telstra, Hutchinson, AUSTAR, Walker Wireless, ActewAGL, NBN Co.
Hot topics and technologies mentioned
3G HSPA, UMTS 850, Personal Communication System, Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA), Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA), DCS-1800, DAMPS, Fixed Radio Access (FRA), Long-term evolution (LTE), Local Multipoint Distribution Systems (LMDS), Digital Dividend, spectrum reallocation, spectrum auctions.