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Telstra reigns supreme as telcos splash $721M at 5G auction

Telstra reigns supreme as telcos splash $721M at 5G auction

ACMA closes auction for licenses in the 3.7 GHz spectrum band.

Credit: Dreamstime

Telstra has scooped the lion's share of the mobile spectrum required for 5G connectivity following the media authority’s latest auction. 

Australia’s largest telco spent $545.6 million on the mobile spectrum 3.4/3.7 GHz, which will enable it to offer both 4G and 5G in metropolitan and regional areas. 

Held by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), the auction saw Telstra, Optus and TPG Telecom, alongside NBN Co, spend a total of $721.8 million on the 3.4/3.7 GHz bands.

Telstra will now have an additional 55 to 110 MHz of spectrum, including an additional 80MHz of spectrum in Sydney and Melbourne. 

“5G has completely changed how we use mobile devices and we continue to see customers’ demand for data growing," CEO Vicki Brady said. "Adding this mid-band spectrum to our network means our customers will get an even better and more consistent mobile experience through more capacity to carry data.”

Publicly listed TPG Telecom said it is now set to ramp up its 5G offerings across Australia after its subsidiary Mobile JV spent $128 million on spectrum licenses. 

In a statement to shareholders, TPG Telecom CEO Iñaki Berroeta said: “Spectrum is a critical asset, enabling TPG Telecom and its family of brands to meet our customers’ growing needs for high-speed 5G services today and into the future.  

“Once deployed, this spectrum will deliver a huge capacity boost for our 5G mobile and fixed wireless services, providing greater speeds and better performance for new and existing consumer and business customers.” 

In third place, Optus spent $33.5 million on four lots of spectrum in northern NSW and southern Queensland, including the Gold Coast.

In last place, NBN Co spent $14.3 million. 

"NBN Co is satisfied with its acquisition of additional radio spectrum in the 3.4 GHz band after participating in the competitive auction process orchestrated and finalised this week by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA)," an NBN Co spokesperson said. 

"Our acquisition of these new spectrum blocks aligns well with our existing spectrum holdings and will enable us to support the forecast, long-term capacity requirements of our NBN Fixed Wireless customers."

The 3.7 GHz auction started on 24 October 2023 and the 3.4 GHz auction finished on 21 November 2023. 

In the 3.7 GHz band auction, 253 of 260 lots were sold. The total revenue of the 3.7 GHz band auction was $696 million. This was equivalent to $0.2887/MHz/pop, excluding unsold lots. 

In the 3.4 GHz band auction, 293 of 300 lots were sold. The total revenue of the 3.4 GHz band auction, excluding the direct allocation of leftover lots, was $25 million. This was equivalent to $0.0673/MHz/pop, excluding unsold lots. 

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Tags NBNTelstraoptusACMAAustralian Communications and Media AuthorityTPG

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