Australia’s first 5G spectrum auction concludes

Australians are a step closer to commercial 5G services following the conclusion of the 3.6 GHz spectrum auction by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

“5G services will deliver improved connectivity and significantly faster data speeds for Australians” Minister for Communications, Senator Mitch Fifield said.

In March 2018, Minister Fifield decided to reallocate the 3.6 GHz spectrum for 5G use, following advice from the ACMA. 

In July 2018, Minister Fifield directed the ACMA on competition settings for the auction with the intent of facilitating a strong, competitive 5G market for the benefit of Australian consumers and industry.

The auction commenced on 20 November 2018 and saw a total of 350 spectrum lots offered for sale in six metropolitan and eight regional areas in the 3575-3700 MHz frequency range. All of the available spectrum sold for a total amount of nearly $853 million.

Four bidders were successful in acquiring spectrum. Telstra successfully bid for 143 spectrum lots worth $386 million, the joint venture between TPG and VHA acquired 131 lots for $263.3 million, Optus acquired 47 lots for $185.1 million and Dense Air Australia acquired 29 lots for $18.5 million.

The licences will commence on 30 March 2020 and expire on 13 December 2030. The ACMA has arrangements in place to support early access to their new spectrum holdings by successful bidders.

“The Government has delivered on its commitment to bring spectrum in the 3.6 GHz band to market as quickly as possible, paving the way for the rollout of 5G services in Australia” Minister Fifield said.

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