Home Telecoms & NBN Vodafone says spectrum buy boost to 5G preparations
Iñaki Berroeta: "It’s clear there is high demand for 5G spectrum, and more suitable spectrum needs to be made available by government.” Iñaki Berroeta: "It’s clear there is high demand for 5G spectrum, and more suitable spectrum needs to be made available by government.” Courtesy VHA Featured

Vodafone Hutchison Australia chief executive Iñaki Berroeta says the company's "significant spectrum investment", along with TPG Telecom, has delivered one of the key pieces in its 5G preparations.

Mobile JV, the joint venture company between subsidiaries of the two telcos, picked up 131 lots in the 3.6 GHz band for $263 million.

Vodafone and TPG announced a merger in August and the consumer watchdog, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, is conducting an investigation to see if the joint venture raises competition concerns.

The ACCC has set 13 December as the provisional date for releasing its decision.

Said Berroeta: “We have been preparing for the evolution to 5G for several years, and the acquisition of spectrum licences in metropolitan, outer metropolitan and regional areas brings 5G another step closer to reality.

“The 60MHz holdings the JV has secured in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Canberra give us a strong 5G spectrum capability in each of these major cities."

The holdings acquired by Mobile JV in the auction:

  • Sydney metropolitan: 60 MHz (12 x 5MHz lots);
  • Melbourne metropolitan: 60 MHZ (12 x 5MHz lots);
  • Brisbane metropolitan: 60 MHz (12 x 5MHz lots);
  • Adelaide metropolitan: 60 MHz (12 x 5MHz lots);
  • Perth metropolitan: 60 MHz (12 x 5MHz lots);
  • Canberra metropolitan: 60 MHz (12 x 5MHz lots);
  • Outer metropolitan areas: 40 MHz (8 x 5MHz lots) in all areas except outer Sydney (6 x 5MHz lots - 30 MHz); and
  • Regional areas: 40 MHz (8 x 5MHz lots) in all areas except South Australia (4 x 5MHz lots - 20 MHz).

“While we are pleased to have secured spectrum licences in every available area, robust competition for artificially limited supply saw the companies participating in the auction pay some of the highest per MHz per pop prices for 5G spectrum in the world so far, with an average price of 29c/MHz/pop.

"It’s clear there is high demand for 5G spectrum, and more suitable spectrum needs to be made available by government.”

Berroeta said though VHA had secured access to 5G spectrum, completion of the merger with TPG was important to create a business to scale which had more ability to invest in networks, new technologies and competitive plans and products.

“We are in the final stages of virtualising VHA’s core network. We have completed our dark fibre transmission rollout and are finalising our detailed infrastructure planning, while leveraging the expertise of our global shareholders," he said.

“Launching a new generation mobile network is a multi-layered evolutionary process which involves much more than putting some new antennas on poles, and we are progressing all elements of our 5G plans.

“Consumers won’t be able to start using 5G on mobile until enabled smartphones are launched over the next few years, and we are working to launch 5G services in major cities before handsets are widely available.”


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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the sitecame into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.


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