AMTA welcomes Spectrum reform outline

 22 May 2015

The release of the next stage of the Department of Communication’s Spectrum Review is an important development in the reform of Australia’s spectrum management framework and is welcomed by the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA).

“The Department’s report to Minister Turnbull sets out an ambitious program of review which has identified key reform opportunities designed to support a contemporary spectrum policy and management framework,” said AMTA CEO, Chris Althaus.

AMTA supports the core elements of the Review and the specific implications as identified by the Department’s report – particularly the intention to replace the current Radiocommunications Act 1992 with new legislation and supporting regulatory arrangements to support effective and efficient spectrum allocation and management into the future.

The Review correctly identifies spectrum licensing as a central aspect where the all-important balance between certainty and flexibility is critical for spectrum licence holders.

AMTA strongly supports the “fit-for-purpose” theme identified as a key characteristic for a future spectrum licensing regime and one that is exactly what’s needed in modern spectrum markets as mobile operators strive to meet customer increasing demand for mobile services and applications, which in turn enable productivity gains throughout the economy, Mr Althaus added.

Research has shown that mobile telecommunications contributes substantially to productivity adding $33.8 billion to the Australian economy. [1]

AMTA also welcomes moves to clarify the Minister’s role(s) in spectrum policy and the aim to minimise Ministerial involvement in administrative matters.

Importantly, the Review is also looking to create a holistic approach to spectrum policy and management by uniting spectrum users under the one regime including broadcasters and public sector spectrum users.

Given the dynamics of modern spectrum markets in an increasingly contestable environment it makes sense to strive for a consistent policy approach that not only recognises the competing needs for spectrum, but also allows for wider use of market forces amongst all users.

AMTA also supports the intention to review administrative pricing arrangements with a view to rationalising and designing more efficient taxes and charges on spectrum assets.

The need for spectrum is critical across an increasingly diverse range of industries and sectors – so a program of reform to create a policy approach and management framework that delivers greater certainty and flexibility is good news for mobile telecommunications, Mr Althaus concluded. 

AMTA looks forward to working with the Government and the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to progress this important regulatory initiative and acknowledges the significant work ahead to reform a complex regime and ensure the role and contribution of spectrum is maximised in the evolution of Australia’s digital economy.

 

For more information contact Randal Markey, AMTA, 0421 240 550



[1] Economics Impacts of Mobile Broadband on the Australian Economy 2006-2013), Centre for International Economics, April 2014