Optus CEO hits back at Telstra spectrum demands - Mobile World Live

Optus CEO hits back at Telstra spectrum demands

14 JUL 2021

Optus CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin (pictured) reportedly dismissed suggestions from her counterpart at Telstra that limits placed on the incumbent at an upcoming spectrum auction would impact regional communities, arguing any rule changes would dampen competition.

The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) reported Rosmarin stated the current rules for the auction of 850MHz and 900MHz spectrum scheduled for November are sufficient to give all operators a fair shot at securing what they need to meet current and future requirements.

Her comments come after Telstra CEO Andrew Penn urged the government to amend rules set by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) which restrict the amount of low-band spectrum his company can bid for.

Telstra will also be required to forgo a portion of spectrum it already owns.

Penn criticised the rules, stating the process would reduce its total holdings and so affect the quality of service in rural areas. He wants the government to allow Telstra to bid for 43 per cent of the spectrum on offer, a proposal Optus is firmly against.

Also commenting, Optus VP of regulatory and public affairs Andrew Sheridan, argued his company was at risk of not being “able to get more spectrum” if limits were not placed on the auction.

“Because we have so little of this low-band spectrum, we won’t be able to meet our existing customers’ needs as they grow,” he told SMH.

Optus is a major competitor to Telstra in regional parts of Australia and Sheridan added the spectrum it wanted wasn’t even about 5G, but rather providing basic voice and data services to its customers.

Conversely, Telstra said in June it had already covered 75 per cent of the population with 5G, just more than two years after initial launch.

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Kavit Majithia

Kavit joined Mobile World Live in May 2015 as Content Editor. He started his journalism career at the Press Association before joining Euromoney’s graduate scheme in April 2010. Read More >>

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