Australia - Mobile Communications - Spectrum Overview

Attention: There is an updated edition available for this report.

Australia - Mobile Communications - Spectrum Overview

The use of radio frequency spectrum provides a diverse range of telephony services. Voice and data services are delivered via equipment based on a range of technological standards and utilising radio resources in a number of spectrum bands. Potential users of the spectrum have conflicting requirements, and not all of these are accommodated by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

Greater spectral efficiency has been gained through digitalisation and technological improvements, along with increased use of interference mitigation techniques to facilitate spectrum reuse. Internationally, mobile broadband and data services have been boosted by the release of spectrum in the 700MHz bands as countries switch from analogue to digital broadcasting. In Australia, part of this digital dividend' spectrum, between 694MHz and 820MHz, was auctioned in 2013, and the main licence winners Telstra and Optus have been able to make use of the concessions since January 2015.

The government has also targeted the release of 126MHz of contiguous ultra-high-frequency spectrum in a bid to address spectrum shortages in a time frame to 2016.

In addition, a public consultation was held in July 2015 regarding plans to reallocate spectrum in the 1800MHz band used in regional areas. Licences for the use of this spectrum will be held by auction, aimed at accommodating LTE in regional areas and so satisfy continuing demand for high-end mobile data services.

This report assesses radio spectrum used for wireless and mobile telephony services in Australia. It details spectrum ownership and usage by network operators, and reviews regulatory developments with respect to services using radio spectrum based on GSM, WiMAX and Ultra-Wideband technologies. BuddeComm covers spectrum auctions and older developments in our other reports.

Key developments

Spectrum planning, sharing, re-farming, licensing.

Companied mentioned in this report include:

Telstra, Optus, AUSTAR, unwired, vividwireless, NBC, VHA.

1. Synopsis
2. Overview
3. Spectrum regulations
3.1 Background information
3.2 Australian Radiofrequency Plan
4. ACMA five-year outlook 2012 - 2016
4.1 Spectrum demand overview
4.1.1 700MHz band spectrum
4.1.2 2.5GHz band spectrum
4.2 Towards 2020 Future spectrum requirements
4.2.1 Spectrum shortage
4.2.2 1800MHz auction developments - 2015
4.3 Regulatory issues
4.4 Fifteen-year spectrum licence pathway
4.5 ACMA takes steps to improve spectrum trading arrangements
5. Spectrum-based services
5.1 Background information
5.2 Mobile services
5.2.1 Background information
5.2.2 LTE services
5.3 WiMAX wireless services
5.3.1 Overview of networks
5.3.2 National Broadband Network (NBN) fixed-wireless services
5.4 Ultra-Wideband services (UWB)
5.5 New broadband wireless technology
6. Spectrum ownership and licences
6.1 Mobile spectrum
6.2 Apparatus licences
6.3 Unlicensed spectrum (IMS)
7. Related reports
Exhibit 4 Expiring spectrum allocation timetable 2015 - 2028
Exhibit 1 700MHz reallocation 2011 - 2014
Exhibit 2 Digital dividend spectrum
Exhibit 3 Proposed 2.5GHz reallocation 2011 - 2016
Exhibit 5 Allocations for wireless access services (WAS) 2009
Exhibit 6 Mobile spectrum by operator in capital city and regional area
Exhibit 7 GSM services by operator
Exhibit 8 WCDMA services by operator
Exhibit 9 Ownership of selected frequencies for 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz services 2015

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