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Allocation of spectrum

Where management rights are created, the government's preferred means of allocating spectrum to its most valuable uses is through the price mechanism. This allows spectrum to be allocated to those who are prepared to pay the highest price, reflecting the value that they place on the spectrum as an input to providing services. The government has used tenders and auctions to allocate spectrum. An example of allocation by auction is the 700 MHz auction for 4G LTE cellular mobile services.

After the initial allocation of spectrum by the government, generally rights can be freely traded and spectrum managers can make decisions whether or not to trade their rights and, if so, on what basis.

Where the Crown retains ownership of management rights, spectrum licences are allocated according to government policy for commercial (an example of which is the digital television switchover or public policy uses).

For other parts of the spectrum where demand is less than supply, spectrum allocation is managed through an administrative process where radio licences are issued by Radio Spectrum Management (RSM).

Allocations may be reviewed from time to time, and reservations amended or removed if they are no longer required for public policy objectives.


Last updated 8 December 2014