Government to auction more 1.8Ghz band

The Federal Government announced yesterday it plans to release for auction the remaining 30MHz of paired spectrum in the 1.8 GHz band.

Minister for Communications, Senator Richard Alston, said the auction of 45MHz of the spectrum last year raised $137 million.

Alston said he expects competition in the telco market to be boosted as a result of the auction.

"The auction will provide another opportunity for new players to enter Australia's dynamic telecommunications market and compete with existing players on choice of products, service quality and price," he said.

It is expected the spectrum could be used to provide a range of services including new digital mobile (GSM ) services and wireless local loop services.

Officials said the spectrum, which is currently used to provide microwave point to point communications links (fixed links), will be auctioned in early 2000. The government's indication in 1997, that the spectrum would not be available until 2002 will still be met, officials said.

Several details, including whether a cap will be applied to the amount of spectrum one party can acquire, and the amount and location of spectrum to be offered, are yet to be determined.

The Australian Communications Authority will release details of the auction process after public consultation, officials said.

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