Telstra, Optus, TPG splurge $650m on 5G spectrum

5G spectrum

Telstra, Optus, TPG Telecom, Dense Air and Pentanet have secured more than half a billion dollars of millimeter-wave spectrum in the first of two 5G spectrum auctions to take place this year.

The Australian carriers revealed how much they had paid in the recent 26GHz spectrum auction, while Telstra announced it would be paying AU$277 million over five years for 1000MHz in the 26GHz band.

5G spectrum to deepen connectivity

“We’re delighted with the outcome of the auction and while the licenses won’t come into effect until around the middle of the year, the ACMA is making available early access licensing which will allow us to use the spectrum even sooner,” Telstra CEO Andy Penn said.

Penn said the spectrum would help “broaden and deepen” 5G connectivity for its customers, adding that mmWave testing has been underway at several sites for some time.

He also explained the scenario of people attending live sports only to then fix some goggles to their face and said: “Imagine watching the Grand Final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, with your 5G-powered augmented reality goggles overlaying real time player stats, all at the same time as thousands of others are enjoying the game alongside you — that’s the immense bandwidth and speed that mmWave can offer.”

The largest lots

The Australian Communications and Media Authority unveiled the five winning bidders, with 358 of the 360 available lots in the 26 GHZ band sold at auction for a total of $647.6 million.

In addition, Telstra said it secured 150 lots, which is the largest number of any telco at a cost of $276.6 million, representing 1000 MHz in all major capital cities and regional areas where 26GHz spectrum was sold.

According to the Australian Communications and Media Authority, Optus won 116 lots for $226.2 million, including 800 MHz spectrum in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Canberra and regional areas and 600 MHz in Hobart and Margaret River.

Optus noted that the spectrum was “at the top spectrum band in most capital cities and regions”, including the ‘golden GHz’ segment supported by both the 28 GHz range and the 26 GHz range.

Optus managing director Lambo Kanagaratnam said, “What is truly exciting about this spectrum is the ability to really deliver on the future potential of 5G and ultra-fast speeds.”

Mobile JV, a wholly owned subsidiary of TPG Telecom, secured 86 lots for $108.2 million, including 400 MHz in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth and 600 MHz in Brisbane and other areas.

TPG said this had resulted in it tripling its total spectrum holdings, which CEO Iñaki Berroeta said would “take 5G services to the next level in terms of speeds, performance and capability.”