We Now Know When The Government Will Start Auctioning Faster 5G, Kind Of

We Now Know When The Government Will Start Auctioning Faster 5G, Kind Of
Image: Getty

The Australian government has finally announced when we can expect the first mmWave 5G spectrum auction to be held. Well, sort of.

mmWave 5G in Australia

On Wednesday Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, Paul Fletcher, announced not one but two mmWave 5G auctions for 2021. He also declared 2021 the ‘year of 5G’.

The first 'high-band' 26 GHz auction will take place in April. The second low-band 850/900 MHz spectrum will be auctioned sometime later in the year.

"Low band spectrum can carry the 5G mobile signal longer distances, and is best for wide coverage indoors and outside. The mid band spectrum provides broad coverage and fast speeds and the high band spectrum will allow blazing fast speeds over shorter distances," Mr Fletcher said in a press release.

"We are making the low, mid and high bands available so that the telcos can provide better, faster and stronger 5G in Australia."

It's currently unclear exactly what date the first auction will fall on. We also don't know when mmWave 5G will actually trickle down to consumers. Comparatively, the first 3.5 GHz 5G spectrum went to auction at the end of 2018 but didn’t become actively available until May 2019.

Bidding Limit

Back in August the government announced the telco bidding limits on the 5G spectrum.

"I have directed the Australian Communications and Media Authority to set allocation limits of 1 GHz,” Mr Fletcher said in a press release at the time.

"This decision was informed by advice and analysis from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and aligns with the Government’s communications policy objectives."

Sorry, iPhone 12

One of the biggest features of the new iPhone 12 is 5G functionality. But unfortunately for us Australians, mmWave 5G will not be compatible with the devices. Even if mmWave does become available in Australia sometime in 2021, it won't work on our iPhone 12 devices. In fact, its only functional on the U.S. models.

Fortunately, 3.5 GHz 5G will at least work.