Vodafone skips Aussie 4G auction

Staff writer
17 Dec 2012

The Australian government’s directives on 4G spectrum pricing have sparked a fierce response from local carriers.

Vodafone Australia has decided not to participate in the auction and Optus is considering a boycott of the pricy 4G auction to be held next April.

The announcement came after communications minister Stephen Conroy announced the federal government would set a reserve price of A$3 billion ($3.1 billion) for the much sought-after 700-MHz spectrum, with a $1.36 per MHz per population price, ZDnet reports.

Vodafone Australia said it would not bid in the 4G auction and would instead rely on its large holdings in the 1800-MHz spectrum band to roll out LTE next year and focus on continuing overhauls of its 3G network.

"We will not be participating in the auction for 700 MHz under the current terms," Vodafone said in a statement. "Our investment focus in the near term is on a network experience that our customers can benefit from as soon as possible. "

Optus, meanwhile, is still considering whether to participate, and is lobbying for the price to be cut.

"Optus is studying the detail of the government's announcement, but as announced, it appears unworkable and out of line with international outcomes," David Epstein, Optus' vice president of corporate and regulatory affairs, said in a statement.

"The reserve price announced is effectively double the basket of outcomes achieved in comparable advanced economies over the past two to three years. It is likely to have the effect of restricting investment significantly, raising prices as costs are passed through to consumers, and reducing consumer choice."

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