Austar sells off spectrum to focus on pay TV

Austar United Communications today agreed to sell 3.4-gigahertz band spectrum to Unwired Australia for $14.07 million.

The spectrum was owned by Austar's licence-holding subsidiary in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, and was acquired byAustar in an auction conducted by the Australian Communications Authority in October 2000.

In the same auction, Unwired acquired nationwide spectrum in the 3.4GHz band.

Austar said it had not made any use of the $14 million worth of spectrum. "Our decision to sell this spectrum is partof Austar's ongoing assessment of its strategy," said Austar chief executive John Porter.

"Austar remains convinced that wireless broadband will prove to be a valuable technology. However, in the short tomedium term we have decided to focus our efforts and our capital on our core pay TV and data businesses in regionalAustralia."

Despite the sale, Porter said Austar is still positioned to be a serious player in the wireless broadband market,having acquired nationwide spectrum in the 2.3-2.4GHz bands.

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