Four companies have won 5G spectrum in the Australian Communication and Media Authority’s latest auction of the 3.6 GHz band. According to the regulator, all 350 lots available in the auction were sold, realising total revenue of AUD 853 million. Dense Air Australia won 29 lots for AUD 18.49 million; Mobile JV, the joint venture of TPG Telecom and Vodafone Hutchison Australia, won 131 lots for AUD 263.2 million; Optus won 47 lots for AUD 185 million; and Telstra won 143 lots for AUD 386 million. Licences won at auction will commence in March 2020 and will run until 13 December 2030.
Optus plan FWA launch
Australian operator Optus said it won new regional licences across North and Central Queensland, South East Queensland/Northern NSW, regional Victoria and South Australia, Tasmania and Southern/Western NSW. These new licences add to Optus’s existing holdings of metropolitan 3.4 GHz spectrum and will enable Optus to offer 5G services to customers across Australia.
Optus plans to commercially launch fixed wireless access services in early 2019. Optus has delivered live trials and shared 5G proof of concepts in its network and in test environments including a 5G Live! showcase during the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games which featured 8K video streaming on-the-go on Optus’s live 5G trial indoor and outdoor network, in which speeds of 16Gbps were achieved.
VHA-TPG merger set for 5G
The VHA-TPG Telecom spectrum joint venture company, Mobile JV, acquired spectrum holdings in all available areas in the 3.6GHz band auction. Mobile JV said it will pay AUD 263.3 million in early 2020 for the lots. Mobile JV bid for twelve 5MHz lots (60MHz of spectrum) in each of the following regions: Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra, Adelaide, and Perth. In regional areas, Mobile JV secured eight lots (40MHz of spectrum) in Central and Northern Queensland, Southern Queensland and Northern NSW, Regional Victoria and Tasmania. In Regional Western Australia, Mobile JV acquired 9 lots of 5MHz (45MHz), six lots in Southern and Western NSW, and four lots in Regional South Australia. The weighted average of the price paid for spectrum in the auction was approximately AUD 0.29 per MHz per head of population.
Mobile JV is a 50/50 joint venture set up pending completion of TPG and VHA’s planned merger, and TPG is required to fund one half of the purchase price at the time of payment. Decisions about how to best make use of the 5G spectrum will be made by Mobile JV following consultation with its shareholders.
Telstra prepares for H1 2019 launch
Telstra secured 30-80 MHz nationwide in the 3.6 GHz spectrum auction held by the ACMA. This investment of AUD 386 million will support Telstra’s national 5G roll-out, the operator. Combined with existing holdings, Telstra reports that it now has 60 MHz of contiguous 5G spectrum in all major capital cities and between 50-80 MHz of contiguous 5G spectrum in all regional areas.
While these licenses will come into effect in March 2020, Telstra reports it is working with the ACMA to enable early access where it is suitable to do so, to ramp-up its roll-out plan for 5G in the first half of 2019. Telstra says it has already switched on 130 5G-enabled sites across Australia and plans to have a total of 200 sites by end-2018. – Telecom Paper