Terrible reception for Oz spectrum auction
Conroy calls it 'waterfront property', telcos call it a rip-off
Australia's spectrum auction has found a terrible reception from those hoped to be most interested in access to the airwaves, with local carriers deciding not to bid.
The auction to be held in April next year is for Australia’s 700MHz and 2.5GHz spectrum, will reallocate the spectrum that becomes available when broadcasters switch off analog services at the end of 2014.
On Friday, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, unveiled the settings for the spectrum auction, which included directing the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to set the reserve price for 700 MHz spectrum at $1.36 per megahertz (MHz) per population.
The Minister has also increased the competition limits for any bidder from 2x20 Mhz to 2x25 MHz for spectrum in the 700MHz band. Minister Conroy said that the competition limits had been amended to enable greater flexibility in terms of different market scenarios, without precluding a new entrant.
Despite a lengthy consultation process with the industry, Optus almost immediately issued a statement rejecting the government's settings, insisting that the reserve price announced is too high compared to those on offer in comparable economies.
Optus VP corporate and regulatory affairs, David Epstein said, “it is likely to have the effect of restricting investment significantly, raising prices as costs are passed through to consumers and reducing consumer choice.”
Vodafone has also indicated that it will not bid at the offered prices, in part because it thinks it has enough spectrum already. Australia's dominant telco, Telstra, has said it will sit on its hands for now.
Minister Conroy defended the settings stating, “this spectrum is seen as the ‘waterfront property’ of spectrum and the Government has made a significant investment to free it up. It is important that we get a reasonable return on this valuable public asset.” ®
Re: NBN screwed me over as well!
There's no one solution.
I've a friend who lives in Melbourne's suburbs - her (optus-based) wireless internet is complete rubbish. Even using my telstra connection (my landline was down) is really painful - fine for a mobile phone, but not useful for normal internet.
Physical cables rule in areas with high requirements, wireless works better with lower requirements. Technically, 7.5 Mb/sec is faster than my landline, but contention is horrible.
Re: I don't say this often...
The more the government makes from this, the higher your future mobile bills will be. Maybe the government should simply spend less. For example, all those free set top boxes (including installation) for pensioners, at a cost to taxpayers of $400 each (despite being available for $30).
It is astonishing that Vodafone , which is having the most problems with capacity, infrastructural and in-home penetration of their signal, is the one that is saying they have enough spectrum and don't need to buy more!
I am one of their customers and when 4G become the norm in 1-2 years time and my contract is up for renewal, I will careless what Vodafone says, if their 4G network is not up and running and is fantastic (speed and reception in doors and out) then moving to another carrier will be what will happen.
I will be presently surprised if Vodafone is still around in Australia by 2015, they are simply not putting enough money and forward investment to meet current and future demand and expectations.
To me it seems they are putting just enough to stay around until maybe someone buys them off? not sure who would do that though.....