The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has released a discussion paper that looks at the possibilities of refarming the 1.5-GHz and 3.6-GHz bands for 5G services.
Those bands are currently used by a variety of services, including satellite and fixed-broadband services in the 3.6 GHz band, and defense use and fixed services, particularly in regional and remote areas, in the 1.5 GHz band. The discussion paper, Future use of the 1.5 GHz and 3.6 GHz bands, seeks public comment on the possible use of the bands for mobile broadband services.
“In the last year, consideration of these bands for mobile broadband has progressed significantly on the international stage,” said acting ACMA chairman Richard Bean. “Given the momentum developing, the time is right for us to consider the potential for re-planning the bands in Australia.”
Bean noted that there are already international standards that support 4G technologies in both bands. “Importantly, the 3.6 GHz band is also being looked at internationally as an early band for 5G, and the ACMA has decided to bring forward discussion of its future use. Re-farming these bands would enable additional capacity for new or existing operators’ mobile networks.”
The paper gives current users of the bands as well as potential new entrants an opportunity to help the ACMA better understand the issues relevant to each band. “Their views will help us to determine what, if any, frequencies and geographical areas should be considered in a possible future re-farming of the bands for mobile broadband,” Bean said.
The 1427-1518 MHz band (the 1.5 GHz band) and the 3575-3700 MHz band (the 3.6 GHz band) are currently included in the initial investigation stage of the ACMA’s Mobile Broadband Work Program. The 2016-2020 update to the Five Year Spectrum Outlook indicated that in the fouth quarter of 2016, the ACMA would release a discussion paper to further progress consideration of the 1.5 GHz and 3.6 GHz bands.
An analysis of current usage as well as potential planning options for re-farming are provided in the discussion paper.
The ACMA is seeking comment from stakeholders on these options to help inform its decision making. This includes whether or not to progress consideration of one or both of the bands to the preliminary re-planning stage of the ACMA’s Mobile Broadband Work Program.
Interested parties are invited by the ACMA to make their comments here.