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ACMA Lifts Curtain On New 700MHz Spectrum Auction

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has opened the door to prospective bidders for its planned auction of 700MHz spectrum, now set to take place on April 4. The lots on offer remained unsold following the 2013 digital dividend auction, but are expected to be keenly fought over this time, as 4G technology continues to expand across the nation.

“This spectrum band – made available after Australia switched from analog to digital TV – is highly valued for mobile broadband, in particular 4G services,” acting ACMA chairman Richard Bean said yesterday. “We expect that the spectrum will be used to provide high-speed mobile voice and data coverage to regional and metropolitan Australia.”

ACMA yesterday published an applicant information package and formally threw applications open. Interested parties – which this time may be all three major telcos (Vodafone sat the last one out) as well as a number of junior operators and very likely TPG.

Those who want to take part must register by February – and pay an application fee. They’ll have until March 16 to lodge documents along with a  “substantial deposit.”

There will be a mock auction in late March or early April, so would-be bidders can practice before the actual auction begins, most likely on April 4.

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