Future use of the 24 - 30 GHz spectrum
Radio Spectrum Management (RSM) is considering the best value use of radio spectrum from 24 - 30 GHz. High level allocation decisions have now been made, with a programme of work underway to make this spectrum available to the market in 2026.
August 2023 update
Cabinet has made a high-level allocation decision regarding long term use of the 24 – 30 GHz radio spectrum range.
This decision is intended to provide the mobile and satellite industries with certainty on which portions of spectrum will be available for what purposes in the long-term, allowing industry to plan accordingly.
View the Cabinet Paper and Minute
The high-level allocation
In the 26 GHz band:
- the 24.25 – 27.5 GHz spectrum range will be primarily allocated for mobile use, with the option to include some satellite services in some areas under technical conditions.
The 28 GHz band will be split up into 2 portions:
- the 27.5 – 28.35 GHz spectrum range will follow a sharing model between mobile and satellite services
- the 28.35 - 29.5 GHz spectrum range will be primarily allocated for satellite services, with the option to include some mobile use under technical conditions.
Consultation highlighted that there are competing industry demands for spectrum in these bands, and we would like to extend our thanks to those who responded to the 2021 consultation. We have heard from both mobile and satellite industries that each foresee substantial need for this spectrum in future. This initial high level allocation decision aims to balance these interests, with each industry receiving an opportunity to access spectrum in a portion of the bands, with a further portion of the band being allocated for shared use between both industries.
Next steps for making this spectrum available in 2026
We are working towards making this spectrum available for long term use around May 2026. A work programme including technical work, industry consultation, engagement with Māori (through the Interim Māori Spectrum Commission), and assignment processes, regulatory design and further decision making, will occur between now and 2026.
These broad allocation decisions provide a framework for future work, and MBIE will be seeking further input from industry including detailed technical input. Our first engagement will be before the end of 2023. Information on this engagement and how to express interest in participating will be provided through a future Business Update.
Guidance for current and prospective users in these bands
Satellite service providers who hold current licenses will be allowed to apply for extensions until May 2026, so they may continue providing services to New Zealand for the interim. By May 2026 future decisions are expected on the satellite licensing approach for long term use. The details of these extensions will be discussed directly with the affected licensees prior to the current license’s expiry.
Any additional or new interim licenses for satellite services will be considered on a case-by-case basis in line with the existing rules (see PIB 38 and PIB 58). Strict criteria will apply to ensure that decisions are compatible with the high-level allocation decision and do not prejudge future decisions.
Any requests for other usage (e.g. 5G fixed term licences) will be considered on a case by case basis in line with the existing rules (see PIB 38 and PIB 58). Strict criteria will apply to ensure that decisions are compatible with the high-level allocation decision and do not prejudge future decisions.
Consultation April 2021
RSM published a discussion document on replanning 24 – 30 GHz in April 2021.