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What is the Digital Dividend?

Adam Bender | Feb. 20, 2013
On 16 April, the Australian government will auction radio airwaves called spectrum to be used for 4G mobile services. Here’s Computerworld Australia's handy guide to this major wireless event.

What does the Digital Dividend mean for competition?

Optus and Vodafone may see the auction as an opportunity to close the customer gap with Telstra.

IBRS analyst Guy Cranswick has said the auction could be an opportunity for Optus to better compete with Telstra.

"Telstra's mobile network is known to be very strong," he said. As the number two carrier, Optus would want to make sure they "keep almost lock step" with Telstra, "even if it's a couple steps behind".

Under auction rules for the 700MHz spectrum, carriers can buy up to 25MHz of the 45MHz of spectrum available. Without Vodafone bidding, that could lead to either Telstra or Optus getting more spectrum than the other.

Is the Digital Dividend enough?

Maybe not, the mobile industry has said.

"According to industry, it is also important to progress planning to define the quantity and timing of the release of future spectrum resources for mobile broadband post the 'Digital Dividend' and the need for a comprehensive policy review about how efficiently spectrum is allocated and managed," according to a Deloitte report commissioned by the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA).

AMTA chairman Warwick Bray has said the mobile industry will continue to work with the ACMA to identify new allocations of spectrum suitable for mobile. The industry can also make more efficient use of existing spectrum, he has said.


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