Telstra spends big for more spectrum

Forks out $72.5 million for additional spectrum at ACMA auction

Telstra has spent significantly more than its rivals in an auction of spectrum staged by the Australian Communication and Media Authority.

The telco is forking out $72,530,000 for additional spectrum in the 1800MHz, 2GHz, 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz bands. In total, Telstra picked up 17 lots: One in the 1800MHz band, seven in the 2GHz band, five in the 2.3GHz band, and four in the 3.4GHz band.

“We’re pleased with the outcome of the auction,” a spokesperson for the telco said.

“The additional spectrum we have secured will mean we can continue to deliver the best experience for our customers and meet the ever growing demand for data.”

In addition to supporting customer and data usage growth, the spokesperson said that some of the spectrum will “support the early evolution of 5G technology beyond the trials we already have planned for 2018”.

Although the government scrapped allocation limits in the 2GHz band in line with advice from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, auction rules limited the amount of additional 1800MHz spectrum that Telstra and Optus could pick up.

Telstra successfully bid for the single 1800Mhz lot (2x5MHz in Maryborough) that it was eligible to acquire.

Optus picked up five lots — two in the 2.3GHz band and three in the 3.4GHz band — spending $6,513,000.

“As Optus continues to evolve into a mobile-led entertainment company, we are focussed on the efficient use of our spectrum holdings and ensuring our network capacity is optimised for our customers’ future high speed data demands,” Optus Networks managing director Dennis Wong said.

“This acquisition of new spectrum assets in the 2300 and 3500MHz bands ensures we are future proofing our network to meet our customers’ increasing data demands.”

“Optus’ spectrum assets in the 3500MHz band ensures we are able to effectively implement and launch 5G services for our customers,” Wong said.

Vodafone picked up one lot of 1800MHz spectrum and two lots in the 2GHz band.

“We are pleased to have acquired three lots of spectrum for a total of $7.2 million at the recent omnibus spectrum auction,” a spokesperson for the telco said. “The additional lots in the 1800MHz and 2100MHz bands will help us to further boost our network for Vodafone customers.”

The telco acquired spectrum in the 2GHz band in Hobart and Darwin.

“We faced tough competition in both of these lots, but it’s a worthy investment which will enable us to boost network capacity and performance in Darwin and Hobart,” the Vodafone spokesperson said.

“We also acquired 2x5MHz of spectrum in the 1800MHz band in regional Western Australia for $235,000 to complement our existing holdings.”

TPG paid $2,330,000 for two lots in the 1800MHz band. The company is building out a network to take on Australia’s existing three mobile carriers.

NBN also picked up additional spectrum: Three 2.3GHz lots and two 3.4GHz lots — the bands used by the company’s fixed wireless service. The government-owned company paid $4,013,000 for the spectrum.

“NBN Co is planning to use our recently acquired spectrum in the 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz band to the enhance the available capacity to current and future fixed wireless customers on the NBN broadband access network,” a spokesperson said.

“The allocations will benefit regional and rural communities around the country.”

“There was good competition across the 1800MHz, 2GHz, 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz bands,” ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin said in a statement.

“The additional spectrum will mean improved services and greater choice for consumers in those areas where lots have been allocated.”

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Tags VodafoneTelstranbn coTelecommunicationsoptusTPGAustralian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)spectrum

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