Australia and Germany eye new mid-band spectrum for 5G

Regulators in Australia and Germany have provided more details on their 5G spectrum plans.

Australia’s ACMA has launched a public consultation on use of the 3.6 GHz band for 5G services, while protecting existing users, which are mainly fixed wireless providers or satellite companies.

Proposed mitigation measures include making the 5.6 GHz band spectrum available for point-to-multipoint users including wireless ISPs, and establishing earth station protection zones to enable satellite services to continue to use 3.6 GHz alongside terrestrial wireless systems.

ACMA said its current preferred option is to make spectrum in the band available in metropolitan and regional areas for new services. It will conduct a detailed assessment of the highest value use of the band before making its final decisions.

“In line with our established mobile broadband strategy, we want to make sure Australia is well placed to take advantage of the emergence of 5G technologies both in the cities and the regions,” acting chairman Richard Bean said. “The ACMA acknowledges the strong interest in the 3.6 GHz band for 5G and other wide area broadband uses, while also recognising that there are existing services and licensees using these frequencies that want to continue operating.”

In Germany, the Bundesnetzagentur has published a framework identifying spectrum in the 2 GHz and 3.4-3.7 GHz bands for potential 5G usage. It has asked companies to express interest in nationwide allocations in these bands, and provide other feedback, by September 30. Following that, the regulator will develop a spectrum plan and call for a multi-frequency auction next year.

Bundesnetzagentur says that 60 MHz in the 2 GHz range should be usable, and this would be made available in 2020 or 2025 depending on the current licences under which it is being used. In the 3.4-3.7 GHz range, it said 400 MHz could be used and most of it will become available in 2022.

The regulator also wants to start work on an application procedure for reallocating certain other bands, currently in use, for 5G, starting with 26 GHz.