Review of licence fees in the Australian 17.3-51.4 GHz band

Plum was engaged by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to review the current taxes for the Ka (17.3-51.4 GHz) spectrum band, and to investigate how existing taxation arrangements could be improved.

Plum concluded that the Ka band was unlikely to become congested in the near future, and that many frequency bands have witnessed declining demand trends. The opportunity cost associated with these bands is therefore likely to be low.

Various approaches to setting fees were then discussed. These included benchmarking fees set by other regulators, benchmarking spectrum market transations, and assessing the least cost alternative value of the spectrum in question.

Based on these approaches, Plum found that the fees for the spectrum were high relative to both the least cost alternative estimates and spectrum fees in other countries. Plum recommended reductions for the fees in Australia-wide fees and in high and medium-density areas.