Thursday, April 12, 2012

Australian LTE spectrum plan favours incumbents

David Kennedy, Ovum Research Director

AUSTRALIA: ACMA’s structure for the 4G spectrum auction confirms what has emerged in earlier consultations.

The decision to make the key 700MHz spectrum available in national lots, rather than regional ones, will favour the three incumbents. A new entrant would probably want to purchase 700MHz spectrum just in key metropolitan markets. Under this scheme, it’s all or nothing at 700MHz, so only operators with deep pockets and national scope will be interested.

This is probably wise. Australia has recently gone from four mobile operators to three, on the grounds that four operators was too many for efficient, profitable operation.

In contrast, the 2.6GHz spectrum will be broken up into geographical areas, allowing successful 700MHz bidders to supplement their capacity in high traffic areas, principally metropolitan markets. Outside these areas, demand for 2.6GHz will be limited.

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