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OZ Digital Auction: Going, Going …(Just Not Yet)

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Communications Minister Senator Stephen Conroy,  confirmed the auction of spectrum between the telco will now not happen until next year.

The auction for the “digital dividend” could see major telcos coughing up to $4 billion in total.

The date was decided following advice of the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), Conroy said.

“The ACMA has advised that an April 2013 auction would maximise product certainty for bidders prior to the auction and provide new licensees with adequate lead time to plan and deploy networks before their licenses commence.”

Telcos including Optus, Telstra and Vodafone are all set to fight it out for spectrum in the 700 MHz band as well as spectrum in the 2.5 GHz band and will help telcos develop new 4G and other next gen mobile services.

Telstra may pay up to $1.3 billion while Optus is thought to pay its massive spectrum bill in stages.

Minister Conroy has also placed a competition limit of 2×20 MHz which will apply to spectrum in the 700 MHz band and a limit of 2×40 MHz to spectrum in the 2.5 GHz band and no entity will be permitted to purchase more than this limit for each band.

The 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.

The new spectrum being auctioned become available mainly as a result of the switch to digital-only television broadcasting by the end of 2013.

A number of digital TV services will then need to be moved to new channels (or restacked) before the 700 MHz digital dividend spectrum can be made available to successful bidders.

“The sale of this spectrum is a unique opportunity to pave the way for next generation mobile broadband services in Australia, such as 4G mobile services,” Senator Conroy said.