Vodafone changes mind, wants 700 MHz spectrum after all

Offers AU$594 million for 20 MHz of 4G goodness

Vodafone has put a half-billion-dollar offer to the Australian government for the 700 MHz spectrum it skipped in the government's 2013 spectrum auction.

The company has told telecommunications industry newsletter Communications Day it wants to take the licenses for a shorter term than the auctioned spectrum – 11 years rather than 15 years, because of the later start date of 2018 – and has offered nearly AU$600 million.

That puts the same $1.36/MHz/population value on the spectrum, pro-rated down for the shorter term.

If Vodafone were to get the 2 x 10 MHz spectrum chunks it's seeking, the government would still need to shift another two 5 MHz slices.

By holding off, Vodafone's Dan Lloyd told Comms Day, the company avoided the auction escalating the price higher than its already-high $1.36/MHz/population reserve price. With 700 MHz handsets and network equipment more common in the market, it's decided the time is right to take the plunge.

In one of his last acts before the current election campaign started on the weekend, communications minister Mitch Fifield issued a consultation paper via the Department of Communications.

The exposure draft of the ministerial direction, available here, sets a June 2 date for submissions on Vodafone's proposal. ®

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