Optus has called out the government after the office for the Minister of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy released the reserve pricing for the 700MHz spectrum. The spectrum currently handles analogue television, but will be sold off next year to deliver 4G services.
According to an announcement released by the office of Senator Conroy on Friday, the minister has directed the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to "set the reserve price for 700MHz spectrum at $1.36 per megahertz (MHz) per population."
The minister believes this is a "fair price" and will "ensure the best outcome ... [for] consumers and the Commonwealth". The price was reached based on the advice from experts and the "relevant agencies", such as the ACMA.
Optus' VP for corporate and regulatory affairs David Epstein, however, was not impressed by the pricing. In a statement yesterday, Epstein declared the proposed arrangement "unworkable" and "out of line with international outcomes". Epstein states the pricing is double that of countries with comparable economies and if allowed to go ahead, would restrict investment and force providers to raise prices to deal with the costs.
A story over at The Australian mentions Telstra is "[considering] the changes in detail", while Vodafone is happy with its slice of the 1800MHz spectrum, courtesy of its merger with 3.