It sounds like the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) are already thinking hard about what how they are going to make sure that carriers don't dupe the government out of all the lovely money it's expecting from the digital dividend spectrum auction.
The 700MHz spectrum, which is to be auctioned off next year, is to be the backbone for mobile carriers' 4G networks. They've been slavering over the spectrum band, even as emergency services have been yelling that they need some too for their emergency networks. All this interest has dollar signs in the government's eyes, which has thought carefully about exactly what kind of auction process it would have, finally deciding on a Combinatorial Clock Auction format to wring as much money as possible out of bidders while supplying them with just those blocks of spectrum they wanted.
According to Communications Day, Paul Zawa, general manager of the ACCC's enforcement and compliance division, said that the commission was going to be on the lookout for cartel behaviour such as collusive tendering and price fixing.
Meanwhile, the ACMA is reportedly setting up rules that limit the amount of communication between those involved in the auction process. Companies that don't play by those rules would not be awarded any spectrum and would lose their deposits.
Today the Opposition is licking its lips over a Deloitte statement, which predicts weak revenues driven by lower company profits and a soft job market that will lead to the government needing to take desperate measures to bring the budget into surplus by 2013. In light of this, the thought of incoming revenue from the spectrum auction must be comforting to the government. So it doesn't surprise me that government agencies will fight tooth and nail to get every penny they can.