ACCC Flags Competition Issues In 5G Spectrum Allocation
The ACCC has announced it is seeking feedback on competition issues that could arise during the upcoming spectrum allocation that will impact rollout of 5G services across the nation.
The Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, Paul Fletcher MP, asked the watchdog if limits should be imposed in the auction in order to protect and promote competition and how those limits should be applied.
‘It’s important that this spectrum is allocated in an economically efficient way, to support the deployment of cutting-edge 5G technologies. But it’s also important to promote competition among spectrum users, for the long-term benefit of businesses and consumers,’ ACCC Commissioner Cristina Cifuentes said.
‘As we consider how this should be done, we want to hear from a range of industry and other stakeholders who have an interest in how this spectrum is allocated and used, including from organisations outside the telco sector.’
It comes as Australia’s auction of the 26 gigahertz (GHz) spectrum band will go ahead in early 2021, run by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).
The 26 GHz spectrum band is expected to enable the launch of a range of innovative new services using 5G technology, particularly buy boosting the capability of Internet of Things (IoT). It’s regarded as a ‘pioneer band’ for 5G in the high-band or mmWave range.
The watchdog is ‘seeking views’ on the likely demand for the 26 GHz spectrum licences, potential uses for the spectrum, the markets where it will be used and any competition issues association with its allocation. The ACCC did not verify which body it was seeking advice from.
Paul Fletcher has asked the ACCC to hand over its advice by mid-May 2020.