3G auction hopefuls pay big to bid

Australia's third generation (3G) spectrum auction applicants have paid more than $830 million to confirm their participation in the auction to be held in mid March.

The Australian Communications Authority (ACA) confirmed that all seven contenders in the auction - AAPT Spectrum (ACT), CKW Wireless, Hutchison Telecommunications, Optus Mobile, Telstra 3G Spectrum Holdings, Vodafone Pacific and 3G Investments (Australia) - paid their eligibility payment which gives them bidding rights for the auction.

The payments are calculated on the basis of the lots a bidder hopes to acquire and the rating set for those lots by the ACA. Four of the seven - Optus, Telstra, Vodafone, and 3G Investments -- took out the maximum eligibility allowed under the competition limits for the auction.

The licences for the 2GHz band are expected to be used principally for 3G mobile telecommunications which will deliver a new range of services, such as mobile access to voice, data and multimedia-based services.

Under the ACA's auction system, licences will be allocated by a simultaneous ascending auction, in which all lots are offered for bidding at the same time. Bidders may bid on any lot or combination of lots subject to bidding limits.

The auction will be conducted over a number of rounds through electronic bidding. Successful bidders will be allocated licences for a 15-year term commencing in October 2002.

The 2GHz band spectrum covers 95 per cent of the Australian population. The spectrum will be configured for auction into 58 lots for metropolitan and regional areas, with two of the lots offering licences for spectrum nationally. Other auction lots will be for licences that offer spectrum in the aggregated capital cities, while further lots will be for individual cities or regions.

Competition limits already set for the auction mean that a bidder can acquire no more than 25 per cent of the available spectrum in state and territory capital cities, and no more than 50 per cent of the available spectrum in regional areas.

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More about 3G InvestmentsAAPTACAAustralian Communications AuthorityCKW WirelessHutchisonHutchison Telecommunications (Aust)OptusTelstra 3G Spectrum HoldingsTelstra CorporationVodafoneVodafone Pacific

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