Australia’s 3.6GHz 5G auction earns AUD853m

10 Dec 2018

The Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA) has confirmed the successful completion of its 3.6GHz 5G auction, which raised AUD853 million (USD613.7 million), with all 350 available lots sold during the process. The licences will commence in March 2020 and run until 13 December 2030. However, arrangements exist to enable earlier access to the band, provided that no interference is caused to existing licensees.

Telstra led the bidding, paying AUD386.0 million for a total of 143 regional spectrum lots. Next in line was Mobile JV – a joint venture between the soon-to-merge subsidiaries of TPG Telecom and Vodafone Hutchison Australia – which paid AUD263.3 million for 131 spectrum lots, followed by Optus Mobile, which offered AUD185.1 million for 47 lots. Rounding out the process was Dense Air Australia, which paid AUD18.5 million for 29 spectrum lots.

TeleGeography notes that Dense Air is an affiliate of the UK-based company of the same name, which recently completed the acquisition of 70MHz of 2.5GHz spectrum management rights from Blue Reach and Cayman Wireless in New Zealand. In New Zealand, the telco seeks to roll out an open-access wholesale network supported by small cells. Previously, in May 2017 Dense Air acquired spectrum in Ireland’s 5G auction but came away empty-handed after Ofcom’s April 2018 auction of UK spectrum in the 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz bands.