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Seeking spectrum, police rejoice at Conroy departure

Adam Bender | June 28, 2013
“Conroy was a stumbling block for us,” says Police Federation CEO Mark Burgess

Althaus noted that it will be difficult to replace Conroy, given his extensive knowledge of the mobile sector.

Telecom analyst Chris Coughlan said he doubts a new minister would reverse Conroy, but cautioned that it's difficult to speculate without knowing who will be selected for the job.

"At this time I don't think that any new minister would take a differing view to the PSAs, and instruct the ACMA to change course, not after they had reviewed all the work done in the past.

While the mobile operators didn't buy all available 700MHz spectrum in the recent auction, Coughlan said they will have demand for it in the future and stopped short of buying all of it due to its high price.

"There is a capacity issue looming with mobile broadband and the 700MHz spectrum will still be needed by mobile carriers," he said. "The ACMA will no doubt be able to sell the remaining spectrum in 2015-17 and extract further value for the Australian people."

However, Coughlan added that for public safety, using 700MHz spectrum would mean lower costs compared to the ACMA's recommendation to use 800MHz spectrum.

"The 700MHz spectrum is more attractive than other spectrum" for public safety agencies because "at this stage it is more likely to generate economies of scale in devices and infrastructure," he said. "The 800MHz allocation will require customised low volume ASICs in devices and retuned Enode Bs, thus the solution is likely to cost more, and the number of vendors willing to support it will reduce."


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