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Australia's telco minister caps digital dividend bidding

10 февраля 2012

Australia's communications minister Stephen Conroy on Thursday instructed the country's telecoms regulator to restrict the amount of digital dividend spectrum that operators can bid on in the auction due to take place later this year.

The rules will be enforced by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and will limit participants to acquiring two 20-MHz chunks of spectrum in the 700-MHz band, and two 40-MHz chunks in the 2.5-GHz band.

"The 700-MHz and 2.5-GHz bands are important for the evolution of mobile broadband networks," said Conroy, in a statement. "There are therefore strong incentives for auction participants to seek to purchase more spectrum than they need in order to gain a competitive advantage."

Conroy said capping bids will establish a level playing field for the three most likely bidders – Telstra, Optus and Vodafone Hutchison Australia – without necessarily preventing the participation in the auction by a new entrant.

"These limits are designed to ensure there is a choice of providers in the mobile sector for the advanced services that will be provided over the digital dividend spectrum," he said.

"[The] industry has been seeking certainty on this issue in the lead up to the digital dividend auction and I am pleased to be able to provide that certainty well in advance of the auction taking place," he added.

Australia is due to conduct its digital dividend auction in late 2012, although the deadline for TV broadcasters vacating their 700-MHz spectrum is the end of 2013. The auction will pave the way for the launch of LTE services.

The ACMA revealed its auction plans in September 2011. The regulator has adopted a Combinatorial Clock Auction (CCA) format, which allows participants to stake a claim on licences for spectrum in both the 700-MHz and 2.5-GHz bands with a single bid. The process is designed to minimise the risk of a bidder being left with a block of spectrum that is effectively useless to it from a commercial point of view unless acquired in combination with other chunks of bandwidth. 

Источник: Total Telecom

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