NZ eyes on Aussie spectrum auction

TOM PULLAR-STRECKER
Last updated 13:50 07/05/2013

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The Australian Government has sold about two-thirds of the "digital dividend" radio spectrum that will be freed up by the closure of analogue television broadcasts in Australia for A$1.9 billion ($2.3 billion).

The result will be closely watched by officials planning a similar auction here.

Telecommunications firms Telstra and Optus between them bought 60MHz of the Australian spectrum, which they will use to support 4G mobile networks.

However, one third of the 90MHz of 700MHz-band spectrum that was on offer did not sell.

Australian broadband and communications minister Senator Stephen Conroy said the Australian government might have another go at selling that spectrum in two or three years.

Third mobile operator Vodafone Hutchison did not participate in the auction, after baulking at the reserve price.

The New Zealand Government has signalled it intends to auction the Crown's digital dividend spectrum by October.

The price demanded by the Australian government would value the New Zealand spectrum at $668m, if all of it sold. However, the New Zealand Government is widely expected to set a lower reserve.

The Australian government simultaneously auctioned 140MHz of less valuable, higher-frequency spectrum in the 2.5GHz band, which fetched about A$100m.

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- BusinessDay.co.nz

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