- To promote competition, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said that an allocation limit of 140MHz across Australia is ideal for the 3.4-3.7GHz spectrum.
- This limit will effectively restrain NBN Co from obtaining further regional allocations in certain areas to the benefit of competing 5G fixed wireless services from the MNOs.
- According to the ACCC, the MNOs will most likely need an additional mid-band spectrum for 5G.
To promote competition, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said that an allocation limit of 140MHz across Australia is ideal for the 3.4-3.7GHz spectrum. This limit will effectively restrain NBN Co from obtaining further regional allocations in certain areas to the benefit of competing 5G fixed wireless services from the MNOs.
According to the ACCC, the MNOs will most likely need an additional mid-band spectrum for 5G. However, anti-monopolisation limits should be in place to prevent any party from monopolising the spectrum. The ACCC also highlighted current imbalances between MNO spectrum holdings and singled out NBN Co as potentially restricting MNOs to acquire spectrum to expand their fixed wireless services.
“It is yet to be seen how NBN Co as a wholesale-only provider responds to developments at the retail level involving the supply of fixed wireless broadband products by its vertically integrated customers. The ACCC considers it important that infrastructure competition in wireless home broadband access markets is open for new entrants,” the ACCC stated.
“Currently the MNOs’ βixed wireless access services are set at lower prices and provide comparable speeds and data inclusions to their NBN resale products,” the ACCC further stated.
“Given NBN Co’s...holdings, it is likely to be in the long-term interest of end-users to set the allocation limit in such a way that creates an opportunity for MNOs to obtain regional spectrum to provide them the opportunity to expand their fixed wireless offerings. Consumers could benefit from lower broadband prices if MNOs use spectrum acquired in this auction to expand their fixed wireless services.”
The ACCC also said that setting an anti-monopolisation limit is still necessary. “Such a limit helps to ensure that no single MNO can acquire and hold key 5G spectrum for a long period to the potential detriment of competition in downstream markets,” it said.
Furthermore, the ACCC said that the proposed allocation limits should be set regardless of the proposed spectrum authorisation part of the MOCN deal between Telstra and TPG Telecom. “While the proposed spectrum authorisation will significantly increase Telstra’s access to spectrum in regional areas, the cumulative effect of this particular allocation is marginal,” ACCC stated.
“In addition, if the spectrum authorisation proceeds, TPG is likely to have demand for regional spectrum for its own purposes, and not solely for monetisation via the spectrum authorisation,” it stated. “Limiting TPG from acquiring spectrum in regional areas due to its potential to be shared with Telstra for the use in the MOCN is not likely to be in the long-term interests of end-users. Doing so restricts TPG from continuing to compete in the areas affected, further shrinking the area in which there are three infrastructure competitors.