Australia could get a new MNO

Dylan Bushell-Embling
25 Apr 2013
Daily News

Australian ISP TPG Telecom is rumored to be bidding in the ongoing “digital dividend” spectrum auction, leading to speculation it could become the nation's fourth mobile network operator.

Regulator ACMA this week launched an auction of spectrum in the 700-MHz and 2.5-GHz bands. The silent auction will conclude in mid-to-late May.

An industry executive reportedly toldBusinessDay that TPG is one of the participants in the auction.

Because the auction is one of the largest ever held in Australia, analysts also anticipate that existing mobile operators Telstra, Optus and Vodafone Hutchison Australia will not secure the entire spectrum holding available. This would leave a fourth entrant free to pick up a slice of the airwaves.

TPG has become a significant player in Australia's ISP market, and already offers mobile services through an MVNO agreement with Optus, so the idea of it operating a 4G network is not out of the question.

Rather than build its own network from scratch, it could seek a sharing deal with one of the existing MNOs.

Alternatively, the company could just be interested in augmenting its fixed internet services with wireless broadband.

The rules of the spectrum auction prevent bidders from discussing their participation in the process.

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