Mid-band spectrum in the 3.4-4.0 GHz band is critical for the deployment of new and innovative technologies, and is already used by a range of existing services. This mid-band spectrum is of interest to a wide variety of use cases and users, including for deploying 5G services, as it balances the benefits of coverage and capacity.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has been working to free-up and identify additional mid-band spectrum for a range of uses, including 5G. Planning of the band is progressing, with the objective of allocating spectrum through 2022 to 2024.
In February 2022, the Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, issued a Ministerial Policy Statement (MPS) for the 3.4-4.0 GHz band, providing guidance to ACMA in its planning and allocation of the band. The MPS specifies four communications policy objectives that ACMA must have regard to in performing its spectrum management functions and exercising its spectrum management powers across a range of planning and allocation decisions that were identified for the 3.4-4.0 GHz band in ACMA’s 2021-26 Five-Year Spectrum Outlook.
In December 2020, the Minister made a designation notice designating parts of the 3.4 GHz band (3400-3575 MHz) for spectrum licencing. The notice enabled ACMA to convert NBN Co’s apparatus licences to spectrum licences, facilitating defragmentation of the 3.4 GHz band.