Telstra goes on offensive after HK spectrum auction - Mobile World Live

Telstra goes on offensive after HK spectrum auction

04 MAR 2011

Telstra has defended its decision to exit the Hong Kong spectrum auction, stating that it withdrew “when it was clear that bids were destroying value.” This week SmarTone was awarded frequencies in the 850MHz band for HK$875 million (US$112 million), while 3 Hong Kong picked up a 900MHz allocation for HK$1.08 billion, netting the Office of the Telecommunications Authority (OFTA) a total of HK$1.95 billion. Telstra, which owns local operator CSL, said it had participated in the auction “in an opportunistic way, knowing that it would retain its leadership given the significant amounts of spectrum it already owned no matter what the outcome of the auction could be.” Tarek Robbiati, chairman of CSL and group MD of Telstra International, argued: “This looks likes desperate bidding: it is interesting to observe that the purchasers of spectrum in this last auction had misjudged the importance of spectrum for LTE in the more strategic 4G broadband wireless auction of January 2009… acquiring 2 x 5mHz of discontinuous spectrum is too little too late at too high a price.” Telstra maintains it has 127.6MHz of radio spectrum in Hong Kong, “28 percent more spectrum than any other mobile operator.”

According to regulator OFTA, five mobile operators and one fixed operator took part in the process, with 41 bidding rounds taking place over four days. It has mandated a requirement to cover “at least 50 percent” of the population of Hong Kong for each frequency band assigned to them within five years of license issue. In a statement, SmarTone said the spectrum “will be put quickly to use in increasing network capacity and enabling higher speeds for its HSPA+ network.” It also noted that “at the 850 MHz frequency band, the lowest frequencies available to mobile operators in Hong Kong, SmarTone-Vodafone will be able to provide even better in-building radio coverage to its customers.” It highlighted the potential to use the frequencies in future for LTE and LTE-Advanced technologies, alongside its 1800MHz spectrum allocation, to offer “further trunking efficiency.” It will launch LTE at 1800MHz “when the network capacity is required.”


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