Friday, 10 December 2021 12:19

Outcome of 850/900MHz band spectrum auction Featured

By
Rate this item
(0 votes)

Two companies, Optus and Telstra, have won spectrum in the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s (ACMA) latest spectrum auction.

All 16 lots available were allocated. The allocation realised a total revenue of $2,091,618,000, equivalent to almost $1.21/MHz/pop.

Optus won eight lots of spectrum at auction for $1,119,183,000, and acquired a total of 12 lots of spectrum for $1,475,958,000. Two set-aside lots were allocated to Optus for a pre‑determined price, and two lots of 1 MHz were automatically allocated also to Optus as the winner of the 900 MHz lower products.

Telstra won four lots of spectrum for $615,660,000.

TPG Telecom did not participate in the auction.

ACMA acting chair Creina Chapman said the spectrum has been designed to support the deployment of 4G and 5G networks across Australia.

“This spectrum will support the deployment of more wireless broadband services, facilitating higher speeds and more reliable networks for consumers,” Chapman said.

“The successful allocation of 850/900 MHz band spectrum is another important step forward for Australia’s transition to 5G, and the deployment of new technologies.”

Licences won at auction will come into force on 1 July 2024, for a 20-year term ending in 2044. Winning bidders may have the opportunity to obtain early access to the spectrum under special circumstances before licences commence, the ACMA advised.

The full results have been published on the ACMA website here.

Minister for Communications Urban Infrastructure Cities and the Arts Paul Fletcher welcomed the conclusion of the auction.

This auction follows the completion of the high band 5G auction in April 2021, making 2021 the ‘Year of 5G’.

“In 2021, the Morrison Government has delivered two major spectrum auctions to facilitate the growth of 5G, and have set the groundwork for the pace of 5G network rollouts to increase in the year ahead.

“The Government recognises the opportunities the 5G rollout presents for economic growth and innovation, including in Australia’s regional communities. The outcome of this auction is an important milestone in making sure the benefits of 5G will be shared by all Australians.

"As a result of the Morrison Government’s work to reform and modernise the Radiocommunications Act 1992, the spectrum licences are 20 year licences, instead of 15 years. Reforms to the Act were passed by the Parliament late last year and commenced in June 2021, meaning this auction was the first to be able to offer bidders the certainty arising from longer licence tenure," Fletcher concluded.

Telstra chief financial officer and group executive strategy & finance Vicki Brady said securing this spectrum was strategically important for Telstra and its commitment to providing its customers the best mobile network across the country.

“With the 2x10MHz of 850MHz spectrum we’ve secured in this auction, added to our existing spectrum holdings, we now hold 2x40MHz of low-band spectrum in the major cities and 2x45MHz in regional and remote areas. This is more than any other carrier, which is important given our larger customer base, and will help us continue to provide the best mobile coverage and service,” said Brady.

“Mobile and wireless broadband are key components of a successful digital economy, and this low band spectrum will help us support Australia’s digital economy ambitions which is critical to our nation’s pandemic recovery. The spectrum is essential for carrying mobile data, particularly 5G, over the vast distances needed across regional and remote areas and also enables us to provide better coverage indoors and other difficult to reach places in metro locations.

“This outcome helps to ensure we continue to meet the growing demand of our customers across the country, and especially in regional areas. Our current 850MHz spectrum licence has played an important role in our 5G rollout which now extends to more than 4,000 sites across the country, reaching 75% of the population. This new spectrum will help us meet the commitment in our T25 strategy to provide 5G coverage to 95% of the population by 2025.

“Over the seven years to end FY22, we will have invested $11 billion in our mobile network nationally with $4 billion of this invested in our regional mobile network. Because of this our mobile network now covers one million square kilometres more than any other telco – that’s the size of New South Wales and Victoria combined.”

Brady said Telstra would keep investing to ensure it maintained its leading mobile coverage and helped regional and remote communities fully participate in the digital economy.

“This is especially important as our nation rapidly digitises, as migration to regional areas continues at pace, and as billions of devices, like water sensors, home and business security cameras, and smart meters are generating data like never before.

“All of these factors have increased demand on our network in regional Australia nearly threefold in the past three years. We will continue investing and this includes boosting regional connectivity with at least another 100,000 square kilometres of new mobile coverage as part of T25,” concluded Brady.

Optus was awarded 2 x 25 MHz of 900 MHz spectrum nation-wide for a total of $1.476 billion. Optus CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin said, “The auction result is a fantastic outcome for Australian consumers and businesses. Optus is building the network of the future for our customers and 900 MHz spectrum is its foundational layer.

"With this additional spectrum, and our existing mid and high band spectrum, we can continue to deliver great coverage and bring the benefits of our technology leadership to more Australians.

“We applaud the Government for prioritising competition and consumer interests in ensuring a competitive auction process that has also delivered more equitable holdings of this critical low band spectrum,” Bayer Rosmarin concluded.

Optus vice president networks Lambo Kanagaratnam said, “We are steadily advancing the rollout of Australia’s fastest 5G, and combining it with value and innovation, like our suite of Living Networks features.

"This spectrum means we can offer a significant uplift of 5G coverage nation-wide, to even more Australians.

“Optus aims to power optimism with options, and options have just become a whole lot better for Australians,” Kanagaratnam said.

Optus says that economic modelling by PwC shows that competitive national deployment of 5G could boost the national economy, with cumulative benefits over the decade of $130 billion – equal to 1.2% of GDP – and the creation of 205,000 net new jobs.

The same modelling shows that the benefits of 5G deployment in regional Australia over the decade would be $38 billion – equal to 1.4% of GDP – with 45,000 net new jobs created, Optus concluded.

TPG Telecom did not participate in the auction. TPG Telecom CEO Iñaki Berroeta said, "Our recent merger brought together the spectrum held by the former VHA and TPG entities. As a result, TPG Telecom has strong low-band spectrum holdings that are already deployed in our 4G and 5G networks.

"Given our existing low-band spectrum, TPG Telecom determined it was not in the best interests of our customers or shareholders to acquire more low-band spectrum at this auction.

"We will continue investing heavily to roll out our 5G network across Australia’s largest cities. Our build program has been accelerating, with more than 150 sites delivered last month alone.

"We are already maximising the potential of our infrastructure, as demonstrated by the recent tripling of our 5G coverage. Our 5G standalone network now covers more than 85 per cent of the population in ten of Australia’s biggest cities and centres, and we look forward to bringing 5G to more customers in coming months and years, Berroeta concluded

Low band spectrum, such as the 850/900 MHz band, has particular characteristics that allow it to transmit efficiently over long distances and through objects such as trees and buildings. It is therefore a highly valued component of mobile networks, particularly in regional Australia, the Ministers office says.

Much of this spectrum has been in use for cellular mobile from the outset of 1G in the 1980s (850MHz) and 2G (900MHz) in the early 1990's. It is beneficial, and sometimes co-incidental, for spectrum licences to be aligned to technology lifecycles, allowing business cases to be extended well into the future. Extending the spectrum leases to 20 years provides certainty for operators as they look to make those long term investments in 5G technologies.

Both operators should be relatively happy with the price of $1.21/MHz/pop. I recall that the same 850MHz spectrum was renewed last time at a slightly higher price of $1.23/MHz/pop. Taking into account inflation over the 15 year period the outcome is a significant discount on the previous price.

The economic issue for mobile telcos is that to keep ahead of demand they have purchased and deployed significantly more spectrum over time. The renewal or repurchase of these growing spectrum holdings along with growing number of cell sites, due to the higher bands, must be driving up both capital and expense budgets for the carriers. It is no wonder the carriers are looking to increase ARPU with increased prices and to grow in other areas such as IoT.

For Government, spectrum is a national asset and getting a good return on that asset can be viewed in two ways:

  • The direct payment in terms spectrum licences which the carriers need to pay in order to stay in business.
  • The economic multiplier benefit can result in substantial economic grow.

However economic growth can be stymied if the spectrum burden on the carriers drives price to levels where utilisation declines and availability of capital is reduced to deploy the technology extensively. A balanced approach is needed to ensure that spectrum is allocated at affordable levels so that economic growth is maximised.

This first appeared in the subscription newsletter CommsWire on 8 December 2021.

PROMOTE YOUR WEBINAR ON ITWIRE

It's all about Webinars.

Marketing budgets are now focused on Webinars combined with Lead Generation.

If you wish to promote a Webinar we recommend at least a 3 to 4 week campaign prior to your event.

The iTWire campaign will include extensive adverts on our News Site itwire.com and prominent Newsletter promotion https://itwire.com/itwire-update.html and Promotional News & Editorial. Plus a video interview of the key speaker on iTWire TV https://www.youtube.com/c/iTWireTV/videos which will be used in Promotional Posts on the iTWire Home Page.

Now we are coming out of Lockdown iTWire will be focussed to assisting with your webinatrs and campaigns and assassistance via part payments and extended terms, a Webinar Business Booster Pack and other supportive programs. We can also create your adverts and written content plus coordinate your video interview.

We look forward to discussing your campaign goals with you. Please click the button below.

MORE INFO HERE!

INTRODUCING ITWIRE TV

iTWire TV offers a unique value to the Tech Sector by providing a range of video interviews, news, views and reviews, and also provides the opportunity for vendors to promote your company and your marketing messages.

We work with you to develop the message and conduct the interview or product review in a safe and collaborative way. Unlike other Tech YouTube channels, we create a story around your message and post that on the homepage of ITWire, linking to your message.

In addition, your interview post message can be displayed in up to 7 different post displays on our the iTWire.com site to drive traffic and readers to your video content and downloads. This can be a significant Lead Generation opportunity for your business.

We also provide 3 videos in one recording/sitting if you require so that you have a series of videos to promote to your customers. Your sales team can add your emails to sales collateral and to the footer of their sales and marketing emails.

See the latest in Tech News, Views, Interviews, Reviews, Product Promos and Events. Plus funny videos from our readers and customers.

SEE WHAT'S ON ITWIRE TV NOW!

Chris Coughlan

A versatile technology executive with extensive experience in most disciplines and technologies in the Information and Communications Technologies sector. Roles have encompassed general management, product management, business development, sales management, industry marketing, operations management, research and development, business case development, market research and forecasting, regulatory, strategy management, solution development, major project construction, process design and management, technology and management consulting, and engineering.

Related items

  • US FCC announces winning bidders in 3.45GHz auction
    in 5G

    In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) completed the auction of 5G spectrum in the 3.45GHz band.

    The FCC advised that AT&T spent over US$9B, Dish Network, bidding under the name Weminuche LCC, spent US$7.33B, with T-Mobile spending US$2.9B on spectrum.

    “Today’s 3.45 GHz auction results demonstrate that the Commission’s pivot to mid-band spectrum for 5G was the right move,” said FCC chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.

    “I am pleased to see that this auction also is creating opportunities for a wider variety of competitors, including small businesses and rural service providers. This is a direct result of the Commission’s efforts to structure this auction with diversity and competition front of mind.

    {loadposition chris08}

    "Enabling commercial use of this spectrum is important to America’s continuing economic recovery and 5G leadership, and I look forward to the continued collaboration between the FCC, NTIA, and other federal agencies to find innovative ways to make spectrum available for next generation commercial and government services,” Rosenworcel concluded.

    Detailed information on the spectrum auction results can be found here on the FCC website.

  • Aussies concerned about how personal details are used for marketing

    Australians want more control over how their information is used by businesses to contact them for marketing, according to new research released by the ACMA.

    The research found that in the 6 months leading up to the survey, 98% of Australians received some form of unsolicited communication and that more than 7 in 10 Australians would like more control over the communications they receive. Only one in 10 of those surveyed felt they always have control over how their information is used by business to sell or promote something.

    Of Australians who asked a business to stop contacting them, 56% had trouble unsubscribing and 59% said they were still contacted after unsubscribing, the ACMA advised.

    The research also showed that scam calls were the most prevalent type of unwanted communication received, with 86% of Australians reporting that they had a scam call in the 6 months before the survey and 4 in 10 Australians receiving them at least weekly.

    {loadposition chris08}

    Over the past 18 months, the ACMA says that businesses have paid $1,899,120 in ACMA-issued infringement notices for breaking spam and telemarketing laws.

    The ACMA says it has also accepted 12 court-enforceable undertakings and issued 8 formal warnings to businesses.

    In response to the research findings, the ACMA has updated and is re-launching a comprehensive online awareness campaign on how Australians can spot – and help stop – phone scams.

    The Unsolicited communications in Australia: Consumer experience research 2021 interactive report is now available here on the ACMA website.

  • Telstra offers a free year of Disney+ with new Internet and mobile plans

    We all need a bit of magic in our lives, Telstra says, which is why it's teamed up with Disney to bring a year of Disney+ to eligible customers on new selected plans.

    Disney+ is, of course, the Walt Disney streaming entertainment service which includes amazing content from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, and Star. It has something for everyone including heart-moving Pixar movies like Luca, and the latest exciting live-action Star Wars and Marvel TV series. It has content ranging from Cinderella to Die Hard!

    Telstra's offer begins today and runs until 28th March 2021 and it doesn't matter if you are a new or returning Disney+ subscriber; Telstra will offer you a 12-month subscription if you take up one of these plans:

    • New customers who sign up to Telstra's $95 and above Home Internet plans at the nbn50, nbn100, and nbn250 speed tiers
    • New mobile customers who sign up to a $65, $85, or $115 mobile plan, or to a $55 or $85 data plan.

    After signing up in-store, over the phone, or online, you'll be contacted by Telstra with a link to the Disney+ offers page. Log in with your Telstra ID and password, click ‘redeem’, and away you go. You need to redeem before the end of May. Your Disney+ subscription will roll over onto a month-by-month plan unless you cancel.

    After the two years we've all had, it's definitely time for a bit of magic.

    {loadposition david08}

  • Optus innovates homes and businesses with Optus Smart Spaces

    Telecommunications company Optus launches Optus Smart Spaces, a range of devices such as Wi-Fi connected stereos, home lighting systems and digital doorbells, as well as unique service solutions from self-install to full professional installation.

    Optus’ O-Team will help customers install their smart devices.

    Optus CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin claims that launching Optus Smart Spaces made sense, as customers already trusted Optus with their connectivity and service needs.

    “With more device options available than ever before, knowing how to install and integrate all the technology in your home or office can be daunting, and many customers are unsure of who to turn to for support,” Rosmarin says.

    {loadposition kenn}

    “We’ve designed Smart Spaces to take the guesswork out of creating a smart home. With Optus, you no longer need to be a genius to create your own connected space.”

    Rosmarin adds nearly 60% of homes with smart devices are not using them to their full potential. She says one in three struggle to set them up.

    “Rather than just selling a smart home lighting system, voice assistant or connected doorbell, we will help customers select the best options for their home – and options for installation too, whether they want to install themselves, install via online support, or just have the O-Team do it for them.”

    Partnering with Amazon, Google, Ring, and Eero, Optus has introduced a range of specially curated smart device collections in select retail stores which can be built into collections of integrated product suites around home entertainment, security, lighting, and work-from-home.

    Customers who purchase select smart home devices from Optus will receive 30 days of assistance from the O-Team online support and the option to purchase ‘in home, in person’ support via the O-Team or enlist ongoing support through a subscription office.

    Rosmarin cited research that indicated the smart home and consumer IOT market is set to grow to nearly $5 billion by 2024.

    “With the expansion and evolution of our Optus 5G, we have bold ambitions for Smart Spaces,” Rosmarin concludes.

    The launch of Smart Spaces comes after SubHub—a platform that streamlines a customer’s entertainment, health and well-being content subscriptions—and the Optus Living Network—a collection of features that adapts to customers’ changing needs by offering them flexibility and control of their connectivity.

    This first appeared in the subscription newsletter CommsWire on 9 December 2021.

  • Telstra on the naughty list for 2021 pays $2.5 million penalty

    Telstra has paid an infringement notice of $2.53 million after the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) found large-scale breaches of rules intended to protect the privacy and safety of customers.

    The ACMA investigation found almost 50,000 instances where Telstra failed to correctly upload a customer’s choice of an unlisted - or silent - number to the Integrated Public Number Database (IPND) meaning these numbers could be published in public phone directories or be available through directory services.

    The ACMA said it also found that Telstra failed to provide data to, or failed to update, the IPND for its Belong customers on over 65,000 occasions.

    The IPND is made up of Australian phone numbers and their owner details, is used by public phone directories, and provides an important resource to support the work of Australia’s emergency services, law enforcement and national security agencies.

    {loadposition chris08}

    ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said that by failing to provide the required information to the IPND, Telstra potentially put people’s safety at risk.

    “When people request a silent number it is often for very important privacy and safety reasons, and we know that the publication of their details can have serious consequences.

    The IPND is also used by Triple Zero to help locate people in an emergency, for the Emergency Alert Service to warn of emergencies like flood or bushfire, and to assist law enforcement activities.

    “The provision of these critical services can be hampered and lives put in danger if data is missing, wrong or out of date. It is alarming that Telstra could get this so wrong on such a large scale,” O’Loughlin said.

    The ACMA’s action follows findings in 2019 that Telstra had breached the same obligations.

    “Telstra initially self-reported these matters and moved quickly to fix them. However, this is not Telstra’s only recent major breach of these rules, which is why the ACMA has taken this action,” added O’Loughlin.

    All telcos are required to upload customer information into the IPND for each service they provide. This includes the telephone number, the customer’s name and address and whether the customer wants their number of be listed or unlisted. Flagging a number as listed or unlisted determines whether a customer’s details are available in public phone directories and directory assistance services.

    This is the latest action in the ACMA’s ongoing campaign to improve the accuracy of the IPND and reduce the risk of harm to Australians. In 2018 and 2020 the ACMA says it took action against a total of 26 telcos for non-compliance with upload rules, including giving remedial directions. Earlier this year the ACMA gave Lycamobile a $600,000 penalty for breaching the rules.

    The ACMA advised that if Telstra fails to comply with its obligations in future the ACMA can commence proceedings in the Federal Court for civil penalties of up to $10 million per contravention.

    As 2021 wraps up, Telstra is definitely on Santa's naughty list, this is the third fine or penalty for the year:

    • Telstra was ordered to pay $50M by the Federal Court in May for engaging in unconscionable conduct when it sold mobile contracts to more than 100 Indigenous consumers across three states and territories. "The $50 million penalty imposed against Telstra is the second highest penalty ever imposed under the Australian Consumer Law. This is appropriate given the nature of the behaviour by Australia’s biggest telecommunications company, which was truly beyond conscience,” the ACCC Chair Rod Sims said at the time.
    • Also in May, Telstra paid an infringement notice of more than $1,500,000 after the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) found it failed to provide consumers with the opportunity to keep their existing local phone number when changing telcos, known as local number porting. Telstra had COVID-19-related impacts on its offshore operations from March 2020. At the time the ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said, “Australian consumers must have the freedom to change their telco provider to take up services that best suit their needs. This includes keeping your own phone number even if you take your business elsewhere.”

    Telstra was contacted for comments on this latest infringement a Telstra spokesperson said, "We have an obligation and responsibility to protect the privacy and safety of our customers – and we haven’t met our own high expectations or those of our customers.

    "We self-reported these issues to ACMA and took steps to correct them.

    "We accept the ACMA findings and have paid the infringement notice." the Telstra spokesperson concluded.

    The Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) has welcomed the ACMA’s action against Telstra for breaching consumer privacy rules related to the Integrated Public Number Database (IPND).

    “It is vital that consumer information stored in the IPND is accurate and secure. Emergency services use the IPND, as well as a range of other information, to locate people calling for assistance,” said ACCAN acting CEO Andrew Williams.

    "The IPND is also used by law enforcement, and for specific research purposes approved by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

    “While we recognise and appreciate the fact Telstra self-reported this issue, the multi-million dollar fine imposed by the ACMA recognises the serious breach of customer trust and the significant potential harms for those customers whose information was not updated.

    “We hope that this serves as a timely reminder for all telcos regarding their obligations under the IPND rules,” concluded Williams.

    Let's hope that Telstra improves next year and moves onto Santa's nice list.

    This first appeared in the subscription newsletter CommsWire on 16 December 2021.

VENDOR NEWS