We have had some minor 5G auctions in previous times but with 5G now very close to becoming a reality for consumers, the serious auctions have just recently taken place.
Telcos have forked out some impressive figures for their 5G portfolios in this final Auction with Telstra not surprisingly topping the list of big spenders.
The four players in the auction were Telstra, Optus, Mobile JV (a joint venture from TPG Telecom and Vodafone) and a relative new-comer, Dense Air Australia.
|Winning bidder||Winning Price|
|Dense Air Australia Pty Ltd||$18,492,000|
|Mobile JV Pty Limited||$263,283,800|
|Optus Mobile Pty Ltd||$185,069,100|
|Telstra Corporation Limited||$386,008,400|
There are a few interesting results from the 5G spectrum auction including Optus not purchasing any further 5G frequencies in any of the major cities, instead spending their $185 million on regional locations throughout Australia. According to the AFR (thanks ILobo), Optus were not allowed to bid for any of the metropolitan spectrum due to their significant holdings in that area already after their purchase of VividWireless in 2012.
Telstra spent the most to obtain their new spectrum frequencies — $386 million. As you would expect Telstra spread out their purchases over both major cities and regional areas. Telstra’s CEO Andrew Penn was extremely pleased with the auction:
This is also a significant investment in the nation’s future connectivity, including large holding of regional spectrum, demonstrating our continued commitment to bring the latest technology to Australians in regional areas.
Mobile JV (TPG and Vodafone Hutchison Australia) spent big, purchasing a vast number of frequencies throughout the major cities and regional Australia. Their $263 million spent shows the seriousness of their push into the 5G space in the coming years. VHA CEO said that their investment will “deliver one of the key pieces in their 5G preparations”:
We have been preparing for the evolution to 5G for several years, and the acquisition of spectrum licences in metropolitan, outer metropolitan and regional areas brings 5G another step closer to reality.
The 60MHz holdings the JV has secured in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Canberra give us a strong 5G spectrum capability in each of these major cities.
The fourth player in the auction was Dense Air. Although they only spent $18.5 million their coverage is based in the major cities. Dense Air are planning to use their spectrum for “IoT sensors, smart building automation systems, AR/VR, and real-time critical communications systems.” It will be interesting to see how their plan plays out in the coming years.
The licences won at the auction do not commence until March 2020 and extend until December 2030. Companies do have the ability to enable access to the bands earlier as long as there is no interference to existing licences.
We will start to see manufacturers begin releasing 5G devices next year but it will take a while for them to become widespread. Hopefully the Telcos begin to push manufacturers to make all of their phones 5G compatible so that we can take advantage of this new speedy spectrum.