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Optus and Telstra win big at Australian spectrum auction

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Telcos Singtel Optus and Telstra have spent over $2 billion in securing spectrum licenses in Australia.

Optus had acquired 2 x 25MHz of the 900MHZ low-band spectrum, spending $1.4 million while Telstra acquired the maximum amount of spectrum within competition limits for $616 million. 

The 850/900MHz band spectrum result was announced by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and 72MHz of low band spectrum was introduced to support the country’s 5G rollout. 

“The auction result is a fantastic outcome for Australian consumers and businesses. Optus is building the network of the future for our customers and 900 MHz spectrum is its foundational layer,” Optus CEO Kelly Bayer Rosmarin said.

Communications minister Paul Fletcher had previously called 2021 “the year of 5G” after the completion of the high band 5G auction in April 2021. 

At that auction, five bidders secured licences in the auction, raising a total of AU$647.64 million, with Telstra, Optus and TPG Telecom all taking significant allocations of spectrum across all geographic areas. From 12-21 April, of the 360 lots available in the auction, 358 were sold.

Fletcher said: “In 2021, the Morrison Government has delivered two major spectrum auctions to facilitate the growth of 5G, and have set the groundwork for the pace of 5G network rollouts to increase in the year ahead.

“The Government recognises the opportunities the 5G rollout presents for economic growth and innovation, including in Australia’s regional communities.

The outcome of this auction is an important milestone in making sure the benefits of 5G will be shared by all Australians,” he added.

In Australia, 5G is forecast to add up to $2,000 in gross domestic product per person after the first decade of the rollout.

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