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.