Senator Stephen Conroy has today issued a discussion paper on re-issuing radio frequency spectrum licenses.
According to the discussion paper entitled ‘Public Interest Criteria for re-issue of Spectrum Licenses,’ the first of the key spectrum licences will expire in 2013, with the remainder expiring by 2017.
While the licences currently range from 500MHz to 31GHz, it is expected that there will be a focus on the spectrum licences in the 800MHz, 1800MHz, 2.1GHz, 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz bands.
The report also says that when a spectrum licence expires there is a ‘presumption in the Act that the licence will be reallocated via a price based method, unless it is in the public interest to do otherwise.’
Reallocation could reassign the licence to achieve its highest value use and supports competition by providing an opportunity for new entrants to enter the market and for competition limits to be imposed on bidders if required. It can also provide an opportunity to test the market to ensure the most efficient use of the licence.
“Australia has been a world leader in wireless communications and we need to plan ahead to retain our leadership. Mobile phones and wireless broadband have changed people’s lives and it is important that industry have the best chance to plan and develop future services,” says Senator Conroy.
“Wireless spectrum is a valuable public asset that supports a range of services of great importance to consumers, business and the telecommunications industry. There are complex issues that will take some time to assess but work has already begun and I expect that the government will be making decisions over the next 12 months on this important matter,” concluded Conroy.
To read the discussion paper, visit www.dbcde.gov.au/spectrumlicences