Australian 3G auction set to roll

Seven bidders confirmed on the 19 February that they would take part in the auction, lodging eligibility payments totally more than $830 million.

The bidders are AAPT Spectrum Pty Ltd. (ACT), ArrayComm linked to CKW Wireless Pty Ltd., Hutchison Telecommunications Australia Ltd., Optus Mobile Pty Ltd., Telstra 3G Spectrum Holdings Pty Ltd., Vodafone Pacific Pty Ltd. and Qualcomm linked to 3G Investments (Australia) Pty Ltd.

Competition limits set for the auction mean no bidder can acquire more than 25 per cent of the available spectrum in metropolitan areas, and no more than 50 per cent in regional Australia.

For a licence of the maximum spectrum allowable -- 5 MHz of unpaired spectrum and 15MHz of paired spectrum in each of the capital cities plus 10 MHz of spectrum across regional areas -- the reserve price will be approximately $300 million.

ACA Chair Tony Shaw said: "If there is strong bidding in the auction, the revenue may be substantially higher than the aggregate reserve price."

Shaw said the ACA had been working with the registered bidders to install the bidding software for the auction, which will be completed by the end of the week.

The radio frequency spectra to be auctioned are in the 2GHz band and are expected to be used principally for 3G mobile telecommunications, which promises to deliver a new range of services, such as mobile access to voice, data and multimedia-based services.

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