Telstra says spectrum price should not be lowered in new sale process

30 Jul 2013

Australian incumbent Telstra is said to be exerting pressure on the government not to discount spectrum that went unsold in an auction earlier this year when it is offered for sale again, according to the Business Spectator.

As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in May 2013 Telstra laid claim to the largest selection of new spectrum in the government’s auction, paying AUD1.30 billion for 2×20MHz blocks in the 700MHz band and 2×40MHz in the 2.5GHz band. Optus successfully bid AUD649.13 million for a 2×10MHz block in the 700MHz band, in addition to 2×20MHz of spectrum in the 2.5GHz band, while alternative broadband provider TPG Telecom rounded out the winners, agreeing to pay just AUD13.5 million for a 2×10MHz block in the 2.5GHz band. However, a total of three 2×5MHz blocks in the 700MHz band went unsold, prompting former communications minister Stephen Conroy to issue draft directions in June 2013 which called for the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to decide on a new strategy to sell these frequencies by 1 September.

With Mr Conroy having said that access charges should remain at the same levels as the previous auction, Telstra has echoed this view in a submission to the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE). ‘Assurance about this matter is important for the confidence of the industry as it continues to invest in mobile networks, so that millions of Australian consumers and businesses can continue to enjoy the benefits of having access to the latest mobile broadband technology and services,’ Telstra executive director of corporate affairs Jane van Beelan said in the submission.