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Telstra Boss Unfazed By TPG/Vodafone Merger And 5G

Telstra boss Andy Penn believes the TPG/Vodafone merger will not unduly affect the upcoming 5G mobile spectrum auctions slated for November.

Speaking to The Australian after his keynote address to the international standard setting body 3GPP yesterday, Penn said, “Everyone has been fully aware of the terms of the auction and it’s important to make sure that Australians can receive the benefit of 5G as soon as it becomes available.”

Telstra is hosting the mobile standards body on the Gold Coast, where 600 global delegates are ratifying the standards that will underpin 5G mobile networks and devices worldwide.

Other carriers, notably Optus, have expressed concerns since the TPG/Vodafone merger was announced regarding what it means for the auctions, even raising the spectre of a postponement.

Penn said, however, that there was no reason for a delay and that it was imperative to get the 5G spectrum to market as soon as possible.

Telstra is keen for the auction to go ahead so it can acquire the 3.6GHz spectrum for hopefully less than it would originally have forked out thanks to less competitive pressure.

The telco is likely to get its share immediately, despite a strict limit being placed on the amount a single carrier can purchase, and the fact that 4G spectrum took a relatively long time to be handed out.

“There’s 10 times more ­capacity with 5G for a lower cost per bit of data transmission, so that’s really important for us to deal with the demand,” Penn said. “It’s also very fast, with latency measured in a single millisecond and that opens up lots of new use cases, and gaming will be an early, popular use case for consumers.”

He is also pushing to ensure that 5G can cope with the conditions it is likely to confront in regional and rural areas.

Previous mobile standards that were designed for densely populated regions of the world struggled to meet the rigorous standards required for a smaller population over a vast landscape such as Australia.

5G promises faster download speeds through its use of higher frequencies, but whether its signals can reach as far or further than previous mobile standard iterations remains to be seen.

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