Optus buys more wireless spectrum


The nation’s second-largest telco Optus has agreed to buy additional spectrum licences for 10MHz of paired spectrum in the 2100MHz band from Qualcomm subsidiary 3G Investments.

In a statement issued today, Optus managing director of products and delivery Andrew Buay said the telco would use the additional 3G spectrum to “support retail and wholesale customer demand” for Optus’ range of data services. The deal is subject to approval by the Foreign Investment Review Board and the national competition regulator.

Buay said there was an “explosive growth” in demand for mobile data services — in the 12 months to September 2009, the number of Optus 3G services increased 43 per cent from 2.16 million to 3.08 million, including Optus mobile broadband customers, whose numbers jumped more than 240 per cent to 688,000.

Buay said the purchase exhausted all available 2100MHz spectrum on the secondary trading market that supported the expansion of mobile broadband services.

Hence, he said, it was important that the Federal Government finalise a number of decisions about spectrum:

  • The allocation of spectrum freed up by the switch to digital TV
  • The allocation of 2.5GHz spectrum for mobile services
  • Greater certainty regarding the cost and timing of the renewal of expiring 3G spectrum licences