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3.6GHz Spectrum Allocation for 5G

3575 MHZ to 3700 MHz

2018 3.6 GHz spectrum auction results

Towards the end of 2018, the ACMA held spectrum autions for telcos to bid for spectrum to run the new 5G or fifth generation Mobile networks. 5G utilses spectrum outside the 3.6GHz allocations. There were four companies in the running to buy spectrum.

  • Dense Air Australia

  • Mobile JV TPG and VHA

  • Optus Mobile

  • Telstra

The pie chart above shows the spend as a percentage of total income for the ACMA.

 

Telstra bought the lions share with just under 48%.  The ACMA conducted the 3.6 GHz band spectrum auction in November and December 2018. The 3.6 GHz band is recognised internationally as a key band for 5G services. The 350 lots of 5MHz each were offered for sale by enhanced simultaneous multi-round ascending (ESMRA) auction. All lots were sold to Dense Air Australia, Mobile JV, Optus Mobile and Telstra raising total revenue of approximately $852.8 million.

 

The map below shows the region breakdown for the auction. There are six Metropolitan areas and 8 regional areas.

5G auction regions

What 3600 Mhz transmitter are in your area?

Head over to the ACMA RRL database. Add your location and the frequency range as per the table above.

The 5G health hazard. There isn’t one.

There’s a lot of community concern about the safety of 5G. Radio Frequency below Ultraviolet light is non ionizing radiation. Non-ionizing radiation does not have enough energy to dislodge electrons and therefore is unable to cause cancer. You can read more about this topic on the American Cancer site.

The graphic above shows 5G’s place in the spectrum. Source NYT

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The spectrum was offered up in 5 Mhz lots. These 5 Mhz lots were allocated on a locations basis – 6 metropolitan areas consisting of Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney and Perth, and 8 regional areas.

Metropoltan Area

RegionDense AirMobile JVOptusTelstra
Adelaide3670 - 3700 MHz3610 - 3670 MHzN/A3575 - 3605 MHz
Brisbane3665 - 3700 MHz3605 - 3665 MHzN/A3575 - 3605 MHz
Canberra3605 - 3640 MHz3640 - 3700 MHzN/A3575 - 3605 MHz
Melbourne3695 - 3700 MHz3635 - 3695 MHzN/A3575 - 3635 MHz
Sydney3635 - 3640 MHz3640 - 3700 MHzN/A3575 - 3635 MHz
Perth - lower band3605 - 3640 MHz3640 - 3655 MHzN/A3575 - 3605 MHz
Perth - upper bandN/A3655 - 3700 MHzN/ANA

The table above was sourced on the ACMA website. It’s interesting that Optus appears to have not bought spectrum in the metro area. This means they must be sharing spectrum with another carrier.

What does this mean to the amateur 9cm service?

There has been a lot of talk lately about the future of the VK 9cm band. We’re not out of the woods just yet, but all of the VK amateur acticity on 9cm is below 3400 MHz. Here’s more on ACMAs 9cm proposal for Australia.

VK 9cm Band Plan January 2020

The lowest frequency of the 5G 3.6 GHz band is currently 175 MHz above to highest allocation of the 9cm amateur band. The commercial demands on spectrum in this allocation is starting to show. The more activity generated on the 9cm amateur band the better.

mmWave 5G

mmWave – pronounced as “millimetre wave” – is a short-range, high-frequency network technology.

The next wave of 5G

 

We will get an early taste of 5G’s full potential when Telstra launches the country’s first “millimetre wave” 5G customer trials mid 2020, which will see boosted mobile broadband speeds and reduced peak hour network traffic jams. This technology can be rolled out on any frequency allocated to mobile phone frequencies, but most, if not all mmWav communications will be on 26 GHz.

 

These early 5G mobile networks run on similar wireless frequencies to the existing 3G and 4G networks, but 5G is also designed to take advantage of the much higher 26GHz band – dubbed millimetre wave or “mmWave” – that delivers even faster speeds over short distances.

How does mmWave work?

mmWave higher frequency means it can offer a lot of capacity and bandwidth over a shorter range. mmWave cells broadcast a signal up to a few hundred metres from the base station, meaning it’s best suited for areas where a high amount of users are concentrated – places like shopping centres; crowded inner-city train stations and even stadiums can all benefit from the capabilities of mmWave.

mmWave is not new – it is already used in Australia for wireless services like fixed point-to-point communications infrastructure and satellite internet. Recent advancements have now opened the digital door to high-speed wireless.

The 26 GHz band

Millimetre wave (mmWave) frequency bands have for some time been considered the next frontier in the provision of mobile broadband services. Advances in radiofrequency (RF) technology, materials and components will soon unlock enormous amounts of data capacity available in bands above 24 GHz (strictly speaking, mmWave refers to 30 GHz and above), which until now could not practically be leveraged in consumer technologies.

mmWave roll out

Rather than extend the reach of 5G further into the suburbs, mmWave is set to boost capacity in high traffic areas. Likely locations include the central business district, along with major hubs such as train stations and sports stadiums like the MCG. In other words,  locations where there is an extremely high density of users.

The World Health Organization, meanwhile, classified radio frequency radiation as a “possible carcinogenic”. That puts it in the same category as pickled vegetables or talcum powder but not as dangerous as alcohol or processed meat.