Just days after ZDNet Australia reported that it could cost the mobile industry billions if the government didn't make a decision on new spectrum allocation this year, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy announced his decision on the 700MHz band.
In a statement today, Conroy said the Federal Government aims to auction the spectrum in the second half of 2012. This would allow "ample time", he said, to plan and deploy next-generation networks likely to utilise the spectrum, such as Long Term Evolution (LTE).
The spectrum will be released once the switchover from analog to digital TV frees that spectrum up. The last switchover date is 31 December 2013.
It will be released as a contiguous block, comprising the frequency range 694MHz to 820MHz inclusive. In its submission to the Federal Government, the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) indicated that Australia's economy could be boosted by up to $10 billion if at least 120MHz of usable spectrum was made available.
In a statement today, AMTA chief executive officer Chris Althaus said that the mobile industry now looked forward to the Federal Government finalising its position on the 2.5GHz band, another section of spectrum the mobile industry hopes members can use for next-generation networks.
The announcement follows Optus' government and corporate affairs director Maha Krishnapillai criticising the communications authority, ACMA, for taking "far too long" on spectrum decisions.