Australian 26 GHz band auction has five winners

The Australian Communications and Media Authority, ACMA, announced successful completion of the spectrum auction in the 26 GHz band. Five winners, two of them regional operators, gained in total 2.4 GHz for AUD 647.6m.

On 21 April 2021, Australia completed the auction in the 26 GHz band. The regulator offered a total of 360 lots in the range 25.1-27.5 GHz. It managed to sell all but two of those lots. And it took ten days of bidding.

The 26 GHz band is a mmWave band, harmonised for international mobile telecommunications (IMT) allocation at the World Radiocommunications Conference in 2019. Prior to the current awards, the band was used in Australia for scientific trials of mobile broadband technology.

The ACMA sold a total of 2.4 GHz spectrum for a total of AUD 647.6m. Calculated per MHz and population, the government can be more than happy with the proceeds of AUD 0.0127 per MHz per pop.

Moreover, the 5G network in Australia will add approximately AUD 2,000 to the GDP per capita after the first decade of the rollout, capacitymedia recalled figures the communications minister Paul Fletcher had shared.

And the winners are…

And who are the winners? The biggest shares of the pie will go to three national MNOs.

Number one: Telstra won 150 lots for AUD 276.6m.

Number two: Optus Mobile gained 116 lots for AUD 226.2m.

And finally number three: TPG (via its bid vehicle Mobile JV) got 86 lots for AUD 108.2m.

The rest will go to two operators who are active regionally – Dense Air Australia and Pentanet. Dense Air, which operates in Sydney and Melbourne, secured two lots for AUD 28.7m. Pentanet, serving in Western Australia, won four lots for nearly AUD 8m.

The regulator will award the licences for 15 years. They will expire in 2036 for all licensees.

ACMA chose the format of an enhanced simultaneous multi-round ascending auction (ESMRA). For more details on basic spectrum auction formats and for our products, please see our webpage.

During the auction, ACMA applied a spectrum cap – no bidder could win more than 1000 MHz in each designated area.

ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said that the auction outcome represents another significant milestone for 5G in Australia. The successful allocation of the spectrum will support high-speed communications services in metropolitan cities and major regional centres throughout Australia.

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