In July 2009, the ACMA released a discussion paper on the introduction of opportunity cost pricing for radio spectrum. A second discussion paper was released in April 2012 proposing to introduce opportunity cost pricing for apparatus licences specifically in the 400 MHz band, including the government allocation, from 1 July 2012. The proposal indicated that the introduction of opportunity cost pricing in the 400 MHz band is a proof of concept for other bands.
ACMA issued its response to submissions on the proposal to introduce opportunity cost pricing in August 2012. In brief, ACMA has determined that:
‘After carefully considering the submissions, the ACMA believes that there remains compelling and appropriate evidence to implement the first of the five proposed changes to the Radiocommunications (Transmitter Licence Tax) Determination 2003 (No. 2) and Radiocommunications (Receiver Licence Tax) Determination 2003 (No. 2) (together “the Tax Determinations”) to introduce OC pricing into the band. While the submissions have raised some concerns about the proposals outlined in the 400 MHz OC pricing paper, there remains support for the principles underlying OC pricing.’
In its response, ACMA advised that opportunity cost pricing will apply to all licenses requested or renewed for the High Density Area from 15 August 2012. The final ACMA report indicated that it will introduce opportunity cost pricing in equal increments of 15% over five years with a review after each increment. As a result of this, current license costs will effectively double over that period, before any CPI adjustments are taken into account.