Oz learns 3G lessons from Europe

Telecoms down under under-cut auction price

Australia's telecoms companies have benefited from Europe's 3G lunacy and coughed up just £0.4 billion (sterling) for the next-generation mobile service.

Rather than stack up crippling debts and put their jobs at risk, CEOs down under have paid just above the reserve price of £0.37 billion to gain access to 3G technology. Not even close to the £0.9 billion the Australian government hoped it could pocket and balance its budget with.

The auction ended on the sixth day in round nineteen when no more bids were made.

Six bidders made offers on 48 of the 58 lots available. Biggest bidder Telstra was happy with its £104 million expenditure, saying that the low prices would make the roll-out of 3G faster. Vodafone paid £87.5 million for its share, Hutchinson £67.6 million, Qualcomm 54.8 million, CKW Wireless £3.26 million.

In terms of price per head, the Australian companies paid a sixth of what was paid in Europe. But despite this Telstra's share price fell just over one per cent - the others' went up. ®

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