The National Broadband Network Company (NBN Co), Telstra and Unwired have collectively forked out over $1.6 million for spectrum in the 2.3GHz band in regional and remote areas of Australia.
In an auction of the spectrum band held by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) today, NBN Co walked away with 24 licences, paying $1.3 million, while Telstra paid $304,300 for 12 licences and Unwired — sister company of Vividwireless — picked up four licences for $37,300, with an option to buy an additional eight licences at the pre-determined price.
"We are pleased with the outcome of today's auction, as it means we can provide high-speed wireless services to some of the most poorly served areas as a priority. We are on target to provide wireless broadband services up to five years earlier than some areas earmarked for fibre," NBN Co CEO Mike Quigley said in a statement.
The spectrum secured by NBN Co covers areas of Western Australia, the Northern Territory, South Australia, Queensland and western New South Wales. In February, the company paid Austar $120 million for its 2.3GHz and 3.4GHz spectrum, which NBN Co will use to service the 4 per cent of premises that will be served by fixed-wireless long term evolution broadband services instead of fibre or satellite. In May, Quigley said that the company needed to pick up some additional spectrum in some areas.
NBN Co last month signed a 10-year, $1.1 billion agreement with Ericsson to roll out a fixed-wireless long term evolution network. The company will begin to offer services in mid 2012, and the entire network is expected to be completed by 2015. Customers on the service will initially be provided with download speeds of up to 12 megabits per second, and one megabit per second upload speeds.