Australia’s government moved to prevent operators stockpiling mmWave spectrum in an auction planned for March 2021 by placing restrictions on the maximum purchases they can make.

Operators will be restricted to bidding for a maximum of 1GHz of the 2.4GHz block of spectrum on offer in the sale.

In a statement, Paul Fletcher, minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, said: “Success in the mobile market ultimately depends on access to spectrum. Applying allocation limits means that the 26GHz spectrum cannot be monopolised by any one operator.”

Fletcher said he directed the Australian Communications and Media Authority to set the allocation limit in each designated area at 1GHz, or about 42 per cent of the total 26GHz spectrum available, following analysis from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

The spectrum will be divided into 29 geographic blocks.

The 26GHz auction will be the first time high-band 5G spectrum will be available in Australia, complementing the 3.6GHz band which Telstra, Optus and TPG (previously Vodafone Australia) are using.