7 October 2016
The Turnbull Government will make 2 x 15 MHz of unallocated 700 MHz digital dividend spectrum available by auction to support mobile broadband services across Australia.
The unallocated 700 MHz spectrum is highly valued for 4G LTE mobile broadband services due to its ability to maintain data signals reliably over long distances.
The Government’s decision follows consultation on Vodafone Hutchison Australia’s (VHA) proposal to acquire 2 x 10 MHz of unsold 700 MHz spectrum by direct allocation. This consultation indicated strong market interest from other industry players. The Government has determined that the competing interests would best be resolved through a competitive process.
The ACMA will conduct the auction on behalf of the Government. To enable this, the Government will provide a formal direction to the ACMA on the reserve price, allocation limits and other relevant matters.
Advice will be sought from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to inform a decision about appropriate allocation limits for the auction.
Public submissions to the consultation from earlier this year are available at: www.communications.gov.au/have-your-say/draft-ministerial-direction-unsold-700-mhz-spectrum.
Following the digital dividend auction in 2013, 2 x 15 MHz of 700 MHz spectrum remained unsold and is available for allocation under national spectrum licences.
In May 2016, the Department of Communications and the Arts consulted on a proposal from VHA to acquire 2 x 10 MHz of the unsold 700 MHz ‘digital dividend’ spectrum. The Department received seven submission to the consultation process.