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Telstra and Optus keen on mobile spectrum auctions in 2012

The Federal Government through the DBDCE plans to auction off 126 Mhz of Analog TV Wireless Broadband Spectrum when the network is finally switched off in 2013.

Telstra Wireless BroadbandThe Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, yesterday announced the Australian Government has decided to release 126 Megahertz of broadcasting spectrum after extensive public consultation through the Digital Dividend Green Paper.

The Digital Dividend wireless spectrum will become available on December 31st 2013 when the switch over to digital television is completed across Australia.

“Once analog television signals have been completely switched off and the spectrum subsequently cleared of other users, 126MHz of spectrum will be freed-up,” Senator Conroy said.

The Digital Dividend will be released as a contiguous block of spectrum in the upper ultra-high frequency (UHF) band, comprising the frequency range 694 to 820 MHz inclusive, this is just below the 850Mhz of Telstra’s Next G and encompasses the 700 Mhz band used by both Verizon and AT&T in the USA , making this spectrum ideal for offering LTE 4G wireless broadband and augmenting existing 3G mobile networks.

“The Government’s decision on the size and location of the digital dividend is a crucial step in the process of releasing spectrum to enable next generation communications services,” Senator Conroy said.

Telstra has already put its hat in the ring for the upcoming spectrum auctions, last week Telstra signed a Heads of Agreement deal with NBN Co and the Federal Government to divest itself from their copper network and switch over to the NBN when it is built. As part of this agreement, Telstra guaranteed itself a seat at the auction of the spectrum when it occurs in the second half of 2012.

In addition to Telstra, itnews reports that Optus intends on being involved in the Digital Dividend auctions, according to Optus Products and Delivery Director Henry Calvert.