The Australian Communications and Media Authority has confirmed that Telstra was the unknown bidder who bought the wireless spectrum belonging to Commander subsidiary Personal Broadband Australia, which shut down its iBurst network last month.
According to Australian Communications and Media Authority
records, Telstra was issued the spectrum band
previously held by iBurst parent Personal Broadband
Australia on 24 December. ZDNet.com.au had
aired industry speculation in November that the telco might have
put its dibs on the spectrum.
Telstra confirmed it had snapped up the band, but said it had not
acquired any other of the company's assets.
"Following a competitive tender process, Telstra was selected as the preferred
bidder to acquire PBA's [Personal Broadband Australia] 5MHz of radio spectrum
(1905MHz — 1910MHz) under licence up to 2017," a spokesperson told ZDNet.com.au.
iBurst came up for sale after the
turnaround plan of Personal Broadband Australia's owner Commander
resulting in Commander's businesses, including iBurst, being offered to the highest bidder.
Despite wireless broadband companies BigAir and
Pacific Wireless expressing interest in the company,
it was later
announced that the iBurst network was to be shut down
on 19 December. A spokesperson for the receivers, McGrathNicol,
said that a part of the business had been sold off, but wouldn't
specify at the time which part or who was the winning bidder.
Although Telstra had to win a tender process to achieve the
frequency band, Warren Chaisatien, research director of analyst firm
Telsyte, had previously expressed scepticism that the company would use
it. He believed the telco would have acquired the spectrum to take
care of competition. "It would be switching off the competitor
because the spectrum band is effective for wireless broadband and
not for 3G," he said.
A spokesperson for Telstra disagreed, saying that although there had been no final
decision made on how the spectrum would be used, the company would look
to deploy mobile broadband and video technologies and applications
over the band. "Watch this space," the spokesperson said.