Tuesday, 04 April 2017 17:25

Bidding opens in multi-million-dollar spectrum auction Featured

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Bidding for the unsold lots of the 700 MHz band spectrum has kicked off with the Australian Communications and Media Authority opening the online auction.

The unsold lots comprise spectrum left over from the 2013 digital dividend auction and are highly valued by telcos and other companies in the telecommunications sector for providing high-speed mobile voice and data coverage to both regional and metropolitan areas.

But Australia’s dominant telco Telstra will be absent after being barred by the federal government late last year from participating in the interests of ensuring competition in the telecoms sector.

The government acted on the advice of the competition watchdog, the ACCC, which had said that mobile users would be better served if the remaining spectrum was bought by Optus, Vodafone or TPG.

Telstra reacted angrily at the time, complaining about the decision to limit how much spectrum any party could hold in the 700 MHz band.

Vodafone is expected to be a strong bidder this time around, after the federal government last year knocked back the telco’s direct offer of $594 million for 2 x 10 MHz of spectrum, in the wake of its decision not to bid in the 2013 auction.

At the time Telstra labelled the offer price, outside of the auction process, as being below market rate.

The 2013 auction saw Optus Mobile and Telstra pay nearly $2 billion to secure spectrum in the 700 MHz band.  

The ACMA officially opened this latest auction on Tuesday with the 10 MHz lot and the 5 MHz lot of the 700 Mhz spectrum on offer – at starting prices of $571,814,000 (10MHz lot) and $285,907,000 for the 5 MHz lot.

The auction will commence with rounds for bidding on the 10 MHz lot and, according to the ACMA, once a winning bidder has been identified for the 10 MHz lot — or there are no bids on the 10 MHz lot in the first round — the auction will move to bidding rounds on the 5 MHz lot.

And, once a winning bidder has been identified for the 5 MHz lot (or there are no bids on the 5 MHz lot in the first round) the auction will conclude.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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