The Government is seeking feedback on an exposure draft of an allocation limits direction for the 850/900 MHz spectrum auction.
Why we want your inputWe are seeking feedback on whether the proposed allocation limits and set-asides are appropriate and legally effective.
How you can voice your opinionYou can provide comment on the exposure draft by making a submission to the Department by 5pm 21 May 2021.
What will be the outcome of this consultation?Submissions received will be used to advise the Minister on the amount and form any allocation limits for the 850/900 MHz auction should take.
The Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts is considering whether to direct the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to impose allocation limits at the 850/900 MHz auction, scheduled for late 2021. The Minister has received advice from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which recommends limits should be imposed at the auction, such that no person could use more than 80 MHz of spectrum below 1 GHz.
Directing ACMA to impose allocation limits would affect how much spectrum bidders could acquire at the auction. Imposing limits would support the Government's communications policy objectives, such as supporting continuity of services and promoting competitive market outcomes that benefit consumers.
The attached draft direction and explanatory statement provide further details on the purpose and operation of the proposed allocation limits.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is planning to allocate spectrum licences in the 850 MHz and 900 MHz bands via auction later this year.
As part of preparations for the auction, the Minister for Communications, Cities, Urban Infrastructure and the Arts (the Minister), is considering whether to direct ACMA in relation to allocation limits to be imposed at the auction. Setting allocation limits for the auction would limit the amount of spectrum bidders could acquire, which would prevent monopolisation of the spectrum and promote competition in downstream markets.
The Minister has received advice from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) about competition issues related to the auction, including the use of allocation limits. The ACCC recommends in its advice that allocation limits equivalent to no person being able to use more than 80 MHz of sub-1 GHz spectrum should be imposed at the 850/900 MHz auction.
The Department has prepared an exposure draft of an allocation limits direction that aligns with this advice. The draft direction also includes provisions to set-aside 10 MHz of spectrum in the 900 MHz band for Optus and TPG Telecom. The draft direction is intended to support the communications policy objectives of the Government, in particular to promote competitive market outcomes for the long-term benefit of consumers and to support continuity of services. A draft explanatory statement is provided to explain the purpose and intended operation of the draft direction.
ACMA is consulting concurrently on draft allocation instruments for the 850/900 MHz auction, available on the ACMA website. ACMA's instruments indicate how ACMA plans to implement any allocation limits direction that the Minister makes for the auction, including how it would account for set-asides in its auction procedures.
To assist in finalising advice to the Minister on whether to direct ACMA to impose allocation limits at the 850/900 MHz auction, the Department is seeking comments on the draft direction, in particular on the below questions, by 21 May 2021.
- Do you have any comments on the drafting of the direction, including:
- whether it correctly implements a mechanism to set-aside spectrum for Optus and TPG in the 900 MHz band; and,
- whether it would be effective in requiring ACMA to impose limits on the amount of the spectrum that auction participants may acquire?
- Do you have any concerns with how the direction interacts with ACMA's draft allocation instruments?
- In addition to any changes suggested in response to the above questions, are any amendments to the direction necessary?
- Do you have any suggestions for the explanatory statement that would assist in explaining the intent or operation of the direction?
Please be aware that the Department will share with the ACCC any submission it receives, including confidential submissions, which concern the ACCC's advice to the Minister.
Australian Privacy Principle 5 Notice
In accordance with the Privacy Act 1988 (the Privacy Act), your submission, including any personal information supplied, is being collected by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications for the purpose of seeking comments on what reforms are required that would ensure the powers and immunities framework continues to meet the needs of modern Australia.
The Department will use this information to strike the right balance between the community's need to access reliable, affordable telecommunications services and ensuring that property owners, local governments and communities have a say in the deployment of infrastructure that affects them.
Your personal information will be stored securely by the Department. It may be used by the Department to make further contact with you about the consultation process. Your personal information will not be disclosed to any other third parties, except in the circumstances outlined below.
Submissions, in part or full, including the name of the author may be published on the Department's website or in the Government's response, unless the submission is confidential. Confidential submissions (including author name) will not be published. Private addresses and contact details will not be published or disclosed to any third parties unless required by law.
Submissions will only be treated as confidential if they are expressly stated to be confidential. Automatically generated confidentiality statements or disclaimers appended to an email do not suffice for this purpose. If you wish to make a confidential submission, you should indicate this by ensuring your submission is marked confidential.
Confidential submissions will be kept securely and will only be disclosed in the following circumstances:
- in response to a request by a Commonwealth Minister;
- where required by a House or a Committee of the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia; or
- where required by law.
The Department may also disclose confidential submissions within the Commonwealth of Australia, including with other Commonwealth agencies, where necessary in the public interest.
Please note that in order to protect the personal privacy of individuals in accordance with the Privacy Act any submissions containing sensitive information, personal information or information which may reasonably be used to identify a person or group of people may not be published, even if not marked as confidential.
Find out more
- ACMA Consultation on draft instruments
- ACCC Advice on 850/900 MHz allocation limits
- 850/900 MHz Band
- Visit the 850/900 MHz band on the ACMA website
Exposure draft—Radiocommunications (Spectrum Licence Limits—850/900 MHz Band) Direction 2021
Published 27th Apr 2021
I, Paul Fletcher, Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts, give the following direction to the Australian Communications and Media Authority. This document may not meet WCAG 2.0 accessibility requirements. For an accessible copy, please email email@example.com.
Exposure draft—Explanatory statement—Radiocommunications (Spectrum Licence Limits—850/900 MHz Band) Direction
Published 27th Apr 2021
The purpose of the Radiocommunications (Spectrum Licence Limits—850/900 MHz Band) Direction 2021 (the Direction) is to require the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to impose limits on the aggregate of the parts of the spectrum that may be used by persons, or groups of persons specified in the Direction, as a result of the reallocation of spectrum in the 850/900 MHz band. This document may not meet WCAG 2.0 accessibility requirements. For an accessible copy, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts has made the Radiocommunications (Spectrum Licence Limits—850/900 MHz Band) Direction 2021(the Direction).
The Direction requires ACMA to set a limit for the auction so that no bidder will be able to hold more than 82 MHz of licensed sub-1 GHz spectrum in the most populated areas of Australia. In the more sparsely populated regional area to be auctioned, a slightly higher limit of 92 MHz of sub-1 GHz spectrum has been set.
The Direction also requires ACMA to 'set-aside' spectrum in the 900 MHz band for Optus and TPG Telecom. This will guarantee these operators the opportunity to acquire 10 MHz of 900 MHz band spectrum at the auction to support continuity of services.
Find out more
- Allocation limits for Australia's next 5G spectrum auction
- Radiocommunications (Spectrum Licence Limits—850/900 MHz Band) Direction 2021
- 850/900 MHz Auction Allocation Limits Exposure Draft
- Improving spectrum for national mobile networks
- 850 and 900 MHz spectrum bands policy objectives
- Radiocommunications (Spectrum Re-allocation—850/900 MHz Band) Declaration
- Visit the 850/900 MHz band on the ACMA website
Submissions to this consultation have now closed.
The department has published all submissions to this consultation where publication details have been confirmed by the relevant parties.
These documents have not been produced by the department and may not meet WCAG 2.0 Level AA requirements. Please email email@example.com for an accessible copy.
The following formal submissions have been made public.