ACMA probes 1.5GHz for spectrum shortfall

ACMA probes 1.5GHz for spectrum shortfall

Summary: The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has taken a step towards addressing what it thinks will be a 300MHz shortfall in spectrum for mobile services by 2020, releasing a discussion paper on the usage of 1.5GHz spectrum for mobile.

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The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has taken a step towards addressing what it thinks will be a 300MHz shortfall in spectrum for mobile services by 2020, releasing a discussion paper on the usage of 1.5GHz spectrum for mobile.

In a discussion paper released last year, called "Towards 2020: Future Spectrum Requirements for Mobile Broadband", the ACMA forecasted that Australia will require an extra 300MHz of spectrum by 2020, to meet demand in the mobile space — 150MHz of which needs to be found by 2015.

The authority has made a number of suggestions for where this spectrum might come from, including the 1.5GHz spectrum band, which received stakeholder support. When it released its five-year spectrum outlook late last week, the ACMA said that it plans to conduct a review of the spectrum band

Currently, the 1.5GHZ mobile band is being used for a range of services, including defence and aeronautical services. The 1452-1492Mhz segment is used mainly for digital sound-broadcasting services, for which demand has been slow, especially in Australia.

The ACMA found that in general, the 1.5GHz band is used heavily in remote and regional areas, but only lightly in cities where demand for spectrum is highest, according to the authority, meaning that its use is ripe for reconsideration. Telstra holds over 80 per cent of the licences for the band.

In addition to considerations of use, the authority said that there have been moves on a global scale to standardise the 1.5GHz band for mobile services.

The ACMA intends to submit the bands that it considered in its "Beyond 2020" report, including the 1.5GHz spectrum, to the 2015 World Radiocommunication Conference, which wants to consider additional spectrum allocations to mobile with an international perspective.

The discussion paper (PDF) that the ACMA released today is intended to encourage ideas on whether it is suitable to use the band, and to hear from the existing users of the band on whether they expect growth or reduction in their use of the spectrum.

Topics: Mobility, Government AU

Suzanne Tindal

About Suzanne Tindal

Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at ZDNet.com.au as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for the site.

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3 comments
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  • Why can't the entire world pull there finger out and use the same spectrum for mobiles in every country?!
    Think about it...... it would make things so much easier if you work in several countries, it would make device manufacturing costs cheaper, it would mean when a device is released it would work in all countries then and there instead of having to wait 4-6 months for a Telstra, optus, voda compatible phone.

    Sure it would take time for every country to migrate to the same spectrum but wouldn't it be worth it?

    300MHz spectrum shortfall...... there are countried out there with a way bigger population and way more mobile users than Australia and you don't see them running out of spectrum! China has 800 million mobile users!
    iTerrorist
    • The same reason the entire world doesn't just use the same street maps as London or New York in every country.

      It would just be too expensive to demolish all their cities and roads and rebuild them all in the same layout.
      jwba
  • As long as the ACMA doesn't allow a Lightsquared kind of mobile/satellite service that impacts on GPS which is at 1.57542 MHz... surely the ACMA will have seen the disruption that Lightsquared caused to GPS receivers in USA during trials and testing.
    Lunokhod