Roll up, roll up, for the big 3G auction

Australia's third generation (3G) auction is set for 15 March 2001.

The Australian Communications Authority (ACA) has also confirmed that reserve prices have been set for the 58 lots on offer at an aggregate figure of $1.08 billion.

Seven bidders confirmed on the 19 February that they would take part in the auction, lodging eligibility payments totally more than $830 million.

The bidders are Telstra, Cable & Wireless Optus, AAPT (Telecom New Zealand), Vodafone, Hutchison Telecommunications, ArrayComm (which is bidding under the name of CKW Wireless), and Qualcomm, which is registered under the name 3G Investments.

Competition limits set for the auction mean no bidder can acquire more than 25 per cent of the available spectrum in metropolitan areas, and no more than 50 per cent in regional Australia.

For a licence of the maximum spectrum allowable - 5 MHz of unpaired spectrum and 15 MHz of paired spectrum in each of the capital cities plus 10 MHz of spectrum across regional areas - the reserve price will be approximately $300 million.

ACA Chair Tony Shaw said: "If there is strong bidding in the auction, the revenue may be substantially higher than the aggregate reserve price."

Shaw said the ACA had been working with the registered bidders to install the bidding software for the auction, which will be completed by the end of the week.

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

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More about 3G InvestmentsAAPTACAArraycommAustralian Communications AuthorityCable & WirelessCKW WirelessHutchisonHutchison Telecommunications (Aust)OptusQualcommTelecom New ZealandTelstra CorporationVodafone

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