Last year the Federal Government announced it would be auctioning off two 15 MHz lots of the 700 MHz spectrum, used to provide 4G mobile broadband. Today, the winning bids for the auction have been announced, with TPG and Vodafone snapping it up.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority began the auction on April 4, and it finished up on Monday having raised more than $1.5 billion. The reserve price was set at $857 million.
"This additional spectrum will help industry meet ever-increasing demand for high-speed wireless broadband," said acting ACMA Chairman Richard Bean of the sale. "The public has realised record rates of return from the sale, and should now benefit from the services this 700 MHz spectrum can provide."
TPG picked up two lots of 10 MHz for $1,260,161,000 (that's $2.75/MHz/pop) and Vodafone bought two lots of five MHz for $285,907,000 (at the reserve price of $1.25/MHz/pop).
Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) is pleased to have acquired 2 x 5MHz of spectrum in the 700MHz band auction, for the reserve price. This is $1.25 per MHz, per head of population. The acquisition is on the same terms VHA proposed to government in 2015.
Vodafone's Chief Strategy Officer, Dan Lloyd, said the purchase will help support the telco's customers' "growing appetite for data".
"We previously expressed an interest in acquiring two x 10 MHz of spectrum in 2015," Lloyd explained, "but since then we have accelerated the re-deployment of our other existing spectrum for 4G, and have put in place plans to deploy leading-edge features in our network."
Bean said the sale of the remaining unallocated portion of the 700 MHz 'digital dividend' spectrum "brings an important chapter in Australian economic reform to a successful close."
"It completes the digital dividend process begun in the 1990s, with the progressive conversion of free-to-air television from analog to digital technology enabling much better TV and a massive boost to high-speed wireless broadband in Australia."
In a statement issued from Minister for Communications Mitch Fifield said "Spectrum is a key enabler for the digital economy, and the Government is pleased that the auction has enabled this spectrum to be released for use."