News: Vodafone Australia, the Australian unit of UK-based mobile operator Vodafone Group, has announced its decision not to participate in the 4G mobile licence auction scheduled for April 2013. Local mobile operator Optus is also considering plans to boycott the auction, after Communications Minister Stephen Conroy announced a reserve price of AUD3bn (US$3.1bn) for spectrum in the 700MHz band or US$1.36 per MHz per population. Vodafone revealed plans to utilise its 1,800MHz spectrum to launch LTE in 2013 if the auction terms pertaining to the 700MHz band spectrum are not revised.
BMI View: Australian telecoms operators are still waiting for the complete transition to digital TV broadcasting from analogue (scheduled for end-2013), which will free up spectrum in the 700MHz band. Consequently, firms are relying on whatever spectrum that they have access to in order to roll out next generation technologies.