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Overview. Mobile Broadband, Future Spectrum Needs, a Cynical View. A planners view of spectrum needs. Current planning, and waste, in the Digital Dividend. The 3GPP Standard and 850 MHz Expansion. New sharing paradigms. Underlay Technologies and Technical Approaches.

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  • Mobile Broadband, Future Spectrum Needs, a Cynical View.
    • A planners view of spectrum needs.
    • Current planning, and waste, in the Digital Dividend.
    • The 3GPP Standard and 850 MHz Expansion.
  • New sharing paradigms.
    • Underlay Technologies and Technical Approaches.
    • Overlay, Whitespace and Cognitive.
  • National Interest Planning.
    • Use of ‘Private Parks’ for Smart Infrastructure.
    • Government use and harmonisation.
obligatory data demand curve source just about everyone
Obligatory data demand curve. (Source, just about everyone)
  • 2007 used as benchmark, normalised to 1.
  • Spectrum in market known at that point.
  • 30 times increase in data demand between 2007 and 2014.
  • Indicates 30 x increased need for spectrum if no other factors come into play.
  • Not sustainable!!!!

Note, ‘in market’ means the spectrum is available to the market. Actual use is not considered.

demand for spectrum decreases as coding modulation and mimo improves with time
Demand for spectrum decreases as coding, modulation and MIMO improves with time.
  • Assumes 3 fold improvement in coding efficiency.
  • That is three times more bit/Hz in 2014 than 2007
  • Obviously not sustainable, thanks to Prof Shannon.
  • ACMA research shows 4 fold increase possible, but at the margins.
Clearing existing users can cost money. If this were reflected in spectrum price then more infrastructure could be the answer. (This example; halving cell radius)
  • As spectrum becomes scarcer the ACMA will need to set its price accordingly.
  • As Shannon’s limit is reached, infrastructure will become the only variable.
  • This curve shows the outcome for a ½ cell radius. (Simplistic).
  • Use of layered approach, down to femto cells may be needed soon.
combining all of these spectrum demand increases by 2 45 between 2007 in use holdings and 2014
Combining all of these, spectrum demand increases by 2.45 between 2007 ‘in use’ holdings and 2014
  • From 30 x to 2.45 x (say 2.5).
  • Would decrease with greater use of infrastructure instead of spectrum.
  • ‘Out of use’ spectrum must be taken into account (10 MHz at 825 MHz and ~ 100 MHz at 2.3 GHz).
  • Problem exists primarily in cities (Syd and Melb).
  • Spectrum cannot be wasted via overly conservative spectrum planning (guard bands). ACMA spectrum planners do not like guard bands.
  • Once spectrum is put to market it is the industry’s responsibility to trade it and use it properly.
In 2007 380 MHz was in market and used.
  • Current plans deliver additional 398 MHz into market (includes 2.3 GHz coming into service and expanding to 100 MHz).
  • ‘850 MHz Expansion’ could deliver up to 40 MHz
  • 900 MHz (ex GSM) could be re-farmed for UMTS and put into market (not ‘additional’)
  • Approx 445 MHz ‘extra’ gained from new spectrum and putting old blocks to better use. (x2.2)
  • Suggests about 100 MHz of ‘new’ spectrum may be needed. (agrees closely with FCC figures).
digital dividend planning to date
Region 3 Harmonisation primary goal; economies of scale in equipment.
  • US Model not satisfactory from spectral efficiency point of view.
  • Australia strongly proposed 2 x 50 MHz plan.
  • Differences in band edge and concerns over mid band gap means 2 x 45 MHz likely.
Digital Dividend Planning to date:
extending 850mhz study
Extending 850MHz Study
  • Looking at spectrum above 806 MHz
  • Extends current PMTS band (Primarily Telstra ‘Next G’)
  • Pairs with various services (some unused like CT2) @ 45 MHz duplex.
proposed 850 mhz expansion bands
Proposed 850 MHz Expansion Bands.
  • Additional 2 x 20 MHz enabled by Digital Dividend.
  • Total amount of spectrum enabled by Dig Div = 130 MHz (2 x 65 MHz paired).
  • Will not be available at same time due to work needed to replan 900 MHz band plan.
  • What is ‘Underlay’.
    • Low transmit power where power limitations protect licensed receivers. Examples, LIPD and UWB.

UWB is here already.

uwb an underlay device very low power thus very low interference potential
Devices may operate to these levels without considering interference issues.
  • Note very low levels around GPS bands.
UWB. An ‘underlay’ device. Very low power thus very low interference potential.
overlay devices
Overlay devices.
  • Not power limited.
  • Limited by need to protect ‘core’ licensed receivers.
    • Example. I/N < -6dB for < 0.1% Time (mean power in 30 kHz)

I/N < 0 dB for < 0.01% Time

Where N = 10Log(kTB) + NF. NF = 5 dB.

  • This sort of licence could be all bands, however natural exclusions would be evident in ‘ubiquitous’ receiver bands such as GPS, Ku Satellite Receive and possibly in RADAR bands.
  • Would cover both cognitive and whitespace devices.
  • ‘Virtual Occupancy’ may occur via inter-modulation products close to receivers. This will make the cognitive problem more difficult.
  • Responsibility to protect receivers falls on transmitter.
tv whitespace
Similar rules to cognitive, but must protect Dig TV Rx
  • Plenty out bush, but why bother??
  • Restricted in cities, perhaps low power only (wireless microphones)
  • N.B. This map is BEFORE restack. It will get more crowded.
TV Whitespace???
400 mhz the last word



1.9 MHz

0.9875 MHz

1.025 MHz

0.9875 MHz

2.5375 MHz

0.43125 MHz

1.49375 MHz

0.975 MHz

1.025 MHz

0.975 MHz

0.125 MHz

2.525 MHz

1.9125 MHz

8.5 MHz















9.45 MHz Split













9.5 MHz Split

10 MHz Split (Dashed)

Potential candidate for S/L

Dedicated Government Use

Defence Use

Shared Government and Commercial Use (No Gov Expansion)

Dedicated Commercial Use


Shared Government and Commercial Use

  • Final paper released 30 April. Band replan decisions now final.
  • Band pricing subject to comment.
  • Prime objectives, emergency services harmonisation and congestion relief.
400 MHz, the last word.
government use a holistic approach
Government use, a holistic approach.
  • State Government entities use a multitude of bands to deliver services.
  • 400 MHz just one band, but one where harmonisation is key.
  • New bands coming, such as 4.9 GHz PPDR ‘WiFi’ band.
  • Other bands in HF and VHF.
  • Licensing is the next consideration.
  • A single State entity, band use being subject to signing up to (and applying) NCCGR National Framework??
400 mhz roadshow
400 MHz Roadshow.
  • ACMA staff will be speaking to affected parties in every capital and Townsville

400 MHz Roadshow- Tentative Schedule

Northern Leg

Monday 19 July

Sydney Roadshow

Tuesday 20 July

Brisbane Roadshow

Wednesday 21 July

Townsville Roadshow

Thursday 22 July

Darwin Roadshow

Southern Leg

Tuesday 27 July

Hobart Roadshow

Wednesday 28 July

Melbourne Roadshow

Thursday 29 July

Adelaide Roadshow

Friday 30 July

Perth Roadshow

national smart infrastructure a pause for thought
National Smart Infrastructure. A pause for thought.
  • Appropriate method of making bands available??
  • Spectrum licence, multiple parties??
  • Private park??
  • But why not a single network meeting (radio) needs of all (i.e. Rail, Electricity, BoM, water etc) using a single band.
  • ACMA actively monitoring future spectrum needs.
  • ACMA leading in Region 3 Dig Div planning.
  • ACMA actively engaged in 850 MHz expansion.
  • ACMA is ahead of the pack on Cognitive Radio Access, having developed proposed Protection Factors for Auxiliary Access (PFAA).
  • ACMA monitoring ‘whitespace’ issue, but access will depend on restack and wireless microphones.
  • ACMA with the leaders on UWB.
  • ACMA ahead of the pack in closely studying broadband spectrum needs, but expects industry to ‘soften the blow’ to incumbents.
  • Harmonisation and congestion in 400 MHz, paper released.
  • ACMA is a leader in thinking about the spectrum needs of intelligent infrastructure projects.


Andrew Kerans

Executive Manager

Spectrum Infrastructure Branch

T: +61 2 6219 5276