The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) announced it will start to reallocate spectrum in the 3.6GHz band and move to more efficient arrangements in the 900MHz band to prepare for 5G broadband services.

ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin said: “The 3.6 GHz band is being looked at internationally as a pioneer band for 5G mobile broadband. We want to make sure Australia is well placed to realise the benefits 5G has to offer.”

She said the agency undertook extensive consultations on the future of the 3.6GHz band and considered the circumstances of current users and future licensees to determine the proposed reallocation arrangements.

With most 2G services switched off, ACMA also plans to refarm the 900MHz GSM band and optimise it for newer-generation mobile broadband services including 4G. ACMA proposes doing this over a number of years to avoid disruption of existing services and to make available additional spectrum already planned for reallocation to mobile broadband in the 850MHz band.

Reviews of the 3.6GHz and 900MHz bands have been key priorities for the ACMA and are a key part of its future work priorities, outlined in its recently released five-year spectrum outlook 2017–2021 (FYSO), O’Loughlin noted.

“We are using this year’s FYSO to start a broader conversation with spectrum users about our spectrum work priorities. One of the first opportunities for industry to express their views is our RadComms conference on 1–2 November,” she said.