Home Telecoms & NBN ACMA’s 1800MHz November 2015 auction: applications open

ACMA’s 1800MHz November 2015 auction: applications open

ACMA’s auction of spectrum licenses in the 1800MHz band is due November, with 147 lots of spectrum ‘to be offered simultaneously using an online auction methodology.’

Applications are now open for participants interested in 1800MHz spectrum licenses, with ACMA stating it ‘will auction spectrum in markets throughout regional Australia in the ranges 1725-1785 MHz and 1820–1880 MHz, as well as residual spectrum from the recently-completed reissue of expiring spectrum licences in the band.’

ACMA anticipates widespread interest in the band, which is ‘internationally-harmonised for mobile broadband applications.’

A comprehensive ‘Applicant Information Pack (AIP)’ is now available, and comprises of ‘an auction guide, relevant legislative instruments and accompanying explanatory statements and the auction forms booklet. The closing date for applications is 1 October 2015.’

The AIP includes details of the starting price for all lots, which are as follows:

Region - Starting price
Darwin - $106,000
North Queensland (Cairns/Townsville) - $399,000
Central Queensland (Mackay) - $305,000
South Queensland (Maryborough) - $917,000
Northern New South Wales (Grafton) - $421,000
Western New South Wales (Dubbo) - $266,000
Canberra (including south coast of New South Wales) - $565,000
Southern New South Wales/Riverina (Albury) - $455,000
Regional Victoria - $705,000
Tasmania - $438,000
Regional South Australia - $274,000
Regional Western Australia - $237,000
North Queensland (Cairns/Townsville) - $199,000
Regional South Australia - $137,000
Adelaide - $1,134,000

ACMA says the starting prices ‘also function as the reserve prices for each lot and have been calculated on the basis of $0.08/MHz/pop, a figure chosen to maximise the overall public benefit with a view to ensuring the efficient allocation and use of the spectrum.’

There is a catch, however - in accordance with a direction from the Minister for Communications, ‘the auction rules prohibit any party from acquiring more than 2 x25 MHz of the available spectrum in the auction, thereby intending to promote diversity and competition amongst potential users.’

ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman stated: “The release of the AIP allows interested parties to consider the vital information on the 1800 MHz band auction. This includes details of the auction process and other key issues such as eligibility payments and the reserve or starting price.”

The 1800MHz band auction will be conducted via a ‘Simultaneous Multi Round Ascending (SMRA) auction using software developed by internationally-renowned online auction experts, Power Auctions. In an SMRA auction, all lots are open for bidding at the same time. All lots remain open as long as there are acceptable bids placed on any lot.’

Chapman continued: “Spectrum is a finite natural resource. When demand exceeds supply for spectrum in a band, the ACMA commonly allocates spectrum by auction. This provides a transparent process to establish a market price, ensuring licences are allocated to those who value them most highly.

“The ACMA considers that the price paid by bidders at an auction should provide a reasonably accurate indication of the true market value of the spectrum and identify the highest value use of the band,” he added.

More information about the 1800 MHz auction can be found here


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.