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Optus Accuses Telstra Of Blocking Its 5G Push

Optus has accused Telstra of hobbling its 5G push in regional Australia, penning an angry letter to the ACCC demanding action.

The telco is asking that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission launch a probe into Telstra’s alleged anti-competition practices, saying its rival has registered hundreds of new mobiles sites that use parts of the 5G spectrum reserved for Optus to commence using in 2024 “without any clear commercial purpose.”

Optus alleges Telstra’s actions were intended to block Optus from accessing its new spectrum slots in an early access provision that is baked into its $1.5 billion purchase of spectrum space.

Optus claims that by doing so Telstra has blocked it from expanding 5G to 2.5 million regional Australians from as early as this month.

“Especially when Telstra has to undertake physical site installation and decommissioning all within the next 24 months prior to Optus acquiring its spectrum licence in 2024,” the letter said.

“Telstra’s conduct represents a serious breach … and should be dealt with in a timely manner to prevent further and ongoing harm to competition in mobile markets.”

Telstra denies any nefarious motives, saying the new sites were set up to migrate 3G services to newer ones, and free up spectrum bands for 5G use.

“Demand for mobile data is rapidly increasing and in response to this all providers are looking for ways to maximise the efficiency of their spectrum holdings to give their customers the best possible experience,” a spokesperson said.

“This will improve our 5G services whilst also maintaining the quality of our 3G services.

“It makes absolute sense for us to use the spectrum in this way to maximise the experience for our 3G and 5G customers on Australia’s leading mobile network.”


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