Wireless Broadband Australia (WBA), formerly Unwired Group, has signed a deal with Energy Australia that will allow it to use a portion of WBA's 2.3 GHz spectrum for smart grid applications.
Under the $10 million agreement, Energy Australia will acquire seven MHz of WBA’s 2.3 GHz spectrum in Sydney, Newcastle and the Central Coast.
The seven MHz leaves WBA with 91 MHz, which is in line with its holdings in other markets and sufficient for the future needs of VividWireless, according to the company.
“In Sydney, Newcastle and the Central Coast we have 98 MHz of spectrum, and the seven MHz at the top of that wasn’t very useful to us, but it was of use to Energy Australia (EA), so the transaction made a lot of sense.” WBA and VividWireless CEO Martin Mercer told Computerworld Australia.
“At the end of the day the goal is to have ample spectrum for our own core business requirements. To the extent we have the spare capacity we will make opportunistic deals like the one with EA.”
Mercer said with the proliferation of devices spawning a greater need for machine to machine communication over WiMax, similar deals were likely.
“Machine to machine communication is something we are very interested in and it isa line of business we are actively pursuing,” he said.
Commenting on the roll out of the company’s 4G consumer service, Mercer said the VivideWireless service was on track to launching this month in Perth.
“We said back in late September when we announced the funding from the Seven Network that we would launch in March, and we are on track to launch in March,” he said.
Two weeks ago the company announced it had secured funding to further extend the service to Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane. Melbourne, and Canberra. Work had also commenced in these cities with the services to launch within the next 12 months, Mercer said.
In October last year a leasing deal was struck with Victorian electricity distributor SPAusnet in to use part of Unwired’s 2.3GHz spectrum in Melbourne to operate a WiMAX network.
As part of the deployment SP AusNet agreed to build a number of base station sites in WBA’s coverage area which would also be utilised in the future 4G broadband network to be deployed in Melbourne. In February, Unwired CEO David Spence stepped down from his responsibilities after six years at the helm of the ISP.