Australian government looks to generate AUD2 billion from spectrum sale

6 Jan 2010

The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that the Australian Federal Government is aiming to raise approximately AUD2 billion (USD1.83 billion) from the sale of spectrum freed up following the switch-off of analogue television signals. The government has announced that after the switch-off has been completed, which is expected to occur by end-2013, it will make available around 126MHz of spectrum. While existing mobile network operators such as Telstra, Optus and Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) are all expected to make a play for the extra frequencies, analysts have suggested other companies including Google and Woolworths have been mentioned as possible contenders for the spectrum. It has been claimed however that each of the cellcos will require approximately 40MHz each in order to provide 4G services, potentially leaving little for other companies.

Telstra meanwhile may face an uphill battle to take part in any auction that the government does hold, with the incumbent still facing possible restrictions on the allocation of any new spectrum in the absence of an agreement between it and the state over structural separation.