Seven applicants bid for 1.8Ghz spectrum

The Australian Communications Authority has received seven applications for the auction of spectrum licences in the 1.8GHz band.

Hutchinson Telecommunications, One.Tel, Cable & Wireless Optus, Primus, Siemens, Telstra and Vodafone each lodged applications for the auction which is expected to be held in January next year.

Officials said more than $49 million was raised from eligibility payments and entry fees for the auction.

"The level of interest in this allocation vindicates the Government's decision to release this spectrum at this time. The auction represents an opportunity for new mobile carriers to enter the market, or for existing carriers to increase their capacity, or to introduce new types of service," Tony Shaw, ACA Chairman said.

The spectrum will be available for a range of uses, but the ACA expects the spectrum, available in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney, will be used for mobile telecommunications.

According to the ACA, a total of two 30MHz bands are available, presented as 12 parcels. Bidders may not bid on more than two 20Mhz bands in each area.

Officials said the licences would be allocated by simultaneous ascending auction, conducted using computers and the Internet.

Meanwhile, OneTel executive, Jodee Rich, recently said OneTel would bid for five of the 12 lots.

"OneTel should be successful in acquiring five," Rich said, adding that while OneTel already has enough spectrum to handle one million customers, the company wants more.

Siemens has also announced that if it is successful in acquiring spectrum it will be seeking a carrier to operate the network.