Vodafone AU presses for NBN 5G spectrum access - Mobile World Live

Vodafone AU presses for NBN 5G spectrum access

10 APR 2017

Vodafone Australia believes the country’s National Broadband Network (NBN Co) needs to work with the mobile sector and share spectrum critical to the rollout of 5G.

The 3.4GHz to 3.7GHz spectrum band is a particular bone of contention as it was allocated to NBN Co before the band became “the only internationally-aligned 5G band which is likely to be available in Australia”, Vodafone said in a statement.

Vodafone Australia chief Inaki Berroeta, speaking at an event in Sydney, drove home the same point when he said other bands “do not have sufficient international alignment, and therefore risk leaving Australia unable to leverage the global technology ecosystem,” news.com.au reported.

Berroeta also said the government should learn its lesson from the auction of the regional 1800MHz spectrum, which played a big part in impeding 4G development.

In it’s statement, Vodafone said it: “is not suggesting that this spectrum be immediately withdrawn from NBN, however there should be a serious examination of the alternatives and options and the costs and benefits of each”, adding: “it should not be assumed that the interests of government, the NBN and the mobile industry are in conflict.”

Vodafone suggested other appropriate bands could be given to NBN Co, which are not “primary candidates” for 5G, or an incentive auction could be held (where incumbent users of spectrum are given an incentive to release spectrum for higher value uses with greater public benefit.)

An NBN Co company representative hinted at reluctance to give up the 3.5GHz spectrum, telling news.com.au: “Our 3.5GHz spectrum is an extremely critical asset that enables us to deliver our commitment to provide access to high quality broadband to all Australians by 2020.”

“Thousands of NBN fixed wireless end user premises are already receiving services using spectrum in the 3.5GHz band – and we plan to service thousands more end users with this spectrum in the future.”

Domestic roaming
Berroeta also criticised Telstra for anti-competitive practices such as only sharing a small percentage of its regional towers and opposing domestic roaming.

Later this month the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is expected to reach a decision on mandated domestic roaming.

In March, Telstra told news.com.au investment and expansion of its mobile network is a key point of differentiation: “Regulated roaming would rob us of this point of difference and take away our incentive to invest.”

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Saleha Riaz

Saleha joined Mobile World Live in October 2014 as a reporter and works across all e-newsletters - creating content, writing blogs and reports as well as conducting feature interviews...More

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