Communications Minister Paul Fletcher has asked the Australian Communications and Media Authority to reserve spectrum for Optus and TPG as part of the upcoming auction of low band below 1 GHz spectrum.
“This will guarantee these operators the possibility of acquiring 10 MHz of 900 MHz band spectrum at auction to support the continuity of services. Optus and TPG Telecom are heavily dependent on their 900 MHz holdings for their national mobile networks,” the minister said. in a press release.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has previously said it is concerned about the low-band holdings of Optus.
“Optus’ ability to compete effectively in the mobile services market is likely to be limited if it does not acquire more sub-1 GHz band spectrum in the 850/900 MHz allocation,” the organization wrote. competition monitoring in April.
“In particular, there is a risk that Optus may not be able to deploy 5G technology on a large scale and effectively in Australia in the absence of spectrum below 1 GHz.”
At the time, the ACCC was not impressed with the concept of spectrum setting aside.
“The recommended allocation limit provides a reasonable opportunity for Optus and TPG to acquire spectrum in the 900 MHz band that would allow them to continue to provide existing services,” said ACCC.
âThe limit also allows a possible price-based allocation process to determine the value that Optus and TPG place on the ability to continue to provide existing services in the band, which will likely result in more efficient allocation of spectrum. that if a side assembly was in place. ”
Nonetheless, the direction of set aside has taken place, as well as Fletcher limiting the amount of spectrum a single operator can have in the 850MHz and 900MHz bands.
In metropolitan areas, the limit will be 40%, or 82MHz, while in regional and remote areas, this limit will be increased to 45% or 92MHz.
The auction is expected to start in late November or early December.
The ministerial decision was welcomed by Optus.
“We commend the minister for standing up for what he knows to be in the best interests of Australians, despite the massive weight of our biggest competitor in a fear campaign to end competition from regional Australia,” said said Andrew Sheridan, vice president of regulator and public affairs at Optus. noted.
âAustralians in the region will benefit from continued access to competitive services and choice, an outcome our biggest competitor has sought to deny. The decision also reflects the wise advice of the independent consumer regulator, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, while intelligently addressing some of the complexities of the technical limitations of these bands. ”
Elsewhere on Monday, NBN announced it would create 44 additional enterprise fiber zones, allowing businesses to get a full-fiber enterprise Ethernet connection, along with reduced connection rates and fees.
The new zones will cover 60,000 businesses and will be available from September.
In New South Wales, the new areas are: Northern Beaches, Camden, Casino, Cessnock, Hunters Hill, Lithgow, Nelson Bay, Singleton, Wauchope and Lake Macquarie – West covering Morisset, Toronto, West Wallsend and Edgeworth.
Victoria will get areas in Balwyn-Surrey Hills, Bentleigh, Cowes, Eltham, Glenroy, Hampton-Sandringham, Hastings-Tyabb, Melton, Ocean Grove, Rosebud, Tatura, Torquay and Yarrawonga.
Queensland wins Ayr, Dalby, Emerald, Goondiwindi, Hervey Bay, Nambour, North Lakes, Warwick and Yeppoon.
Western Australia receives Cottesloe, Joondalup, Maddington and Collie.
South Australia obtains commercial zones in Goolwa, Modbury, Naracoorte, Port Pirie and Stirling.
Tasmania gets an area at George Town and Bell Bay, while ACT gets commercial fiber at Gungahlin and Tuggeranong.
NBN said it will have 284 commercial fiber zones capable of connecting 850,000 businesses across the country.