Spectrum reform

The Spectrum Review 2014-2016

AMTA has been a strong advocate for reform of Australia’s spectrum management framework and therefore welcomed the Government’s decision to conduct a Spectrum Review in 2014.

AMTA was an active participant throughout the Spectrum Review process from 2014-16 when the Government released an initial draft Radiocommunications Bill for consultation.

AMTA continues to support the Government’s ongoing commitment to fundamental reform of the Radiocommunications Act 1992 and the regulatory framework for the allocation and management of spectrum.

AMTA believes that reform of the legislative and regulatory framework for spectrum management has the potential to deliver:

  • more timely and efficient allocation processes;
  • reduced costs for industry, the ACMA and the Australian Government; and
  • more flexibility to enable the deployment and adoption of new technologies, including 5G.

The short-comings of the existing licensing framework are well understood. The timely allocation and management of spectrum has been hindered by:

  • excessive prescriptiveness and rigidity in licence design and band planning;
  • uncertainty and inconsistency in licence pricing; and
  • blurred boundaries of responsibility between the Australian Government and the ACMA in the allocation of spectrum.

Spectrum reform in 2019

AMTA recognises that the Government’s reform agenda around the Radiocommunications Bill 2018 stalled in early 2019 and we look forward to renewed engagement on reform of the regulatory and legislative framework in the second half of this year.

It is critical that we have a fit for purpose regulatory framework to support the deployment of 5G so that the enabling benefits of the next generation of mobile technology are fully realised across the economy.

AMTA believes that a fit for purpose regulatory framework must be based on the following fundamental principles:

  1. The licensing framework needs to be flexible as well as provide sufficient certainty to encourage continued investment.
  2. Flexibility means – streamlining processes, a technology neutral approach and support for multi-purpose use.
  3. Certainty means – licence tenure of at least 20 years; with a clearly defined pathway to renewal for new allocations.
  4. Clearly defined pathway to renewal for existing licences
  5. Allocations need to be efficient and market-based; with secondary trading supported.
  6. Property rights of licence holders need to be enforced so that licence holders can enjoy spectrum free of interference and encumbrances. The management of interference will be increasingly important with the roll-out of 5G and the associated proliferation of IoT devices.
  7. Sharing should never be imposed on licence holders.