The Australian government outlined limits on the amount of low-band spectrum operators can acquire in an upcoming 5G auction, with a higher cap set for less populated regions to encourage investment.
In metropolitan areas, operators will be limited to acquiring a total of 82MHz of sub-1GHz spectrum, or more than 40 per cent of the low-band spectrum. A limit of 92MHz, or 45 per cent, was set for remote areas.
Australian Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts, Paul Fletcher, explained in a statement the limits are designed to promote competition, efficient spectrum allocation and prevent any single bidder monopolising proceedings.
The country plans to auction 20-year licences in the 850MHz and 900MHz bands by the end of this year.
Telstra issued a statement welcoming the government’s decision to increase the amount of low-band spectrum it can bid for in regional areas.
The operator had warned any restrictions could impact regional communities and competition after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission recommended the government limit the amount of low-band spectrum Telstra could bid for.
Lyndall Stoyles, Telstra’s group general counsel, stated: “The decision is a win for the people, businesses and communities of regional and rural Australia.”
Optus CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin also welcomed the decision, explaining in a separate statement: “Low-band spectrum is a scarce national resource that will be vital to achieving our digital economy’s potential”, by boosting choice and competition.
Fletcher’s direction to the Australian Communications and Media Authority also requires it to set-aside 900MHz spectrum for Optus and TPG Telecom to give them the opportunity to acquire at least 10MHz to support continuity of services.
The minister noted the operators rely on the 900MHz band for their national mobile networks.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back