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Australian Government Minister Intervenes in Radio Spectrum Auction

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Australia's Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy has intervened in the country's forthcoming radio spectrum auction in order to set the reserve prices himself.

The telecoms regulator normally sets the floor-price for spectrum auctions, but the government Minister has the ability to overturn their decisions and impose a different level.

The government is expecting to raise up to AU$4 billion for the government, but the level of competition in the auction has been in doubt following suggestions that Vodafone might not participate. With a lack of bidders, the spectrum is likely to sell for the reserve price, and wont meet the government revenue raising expectations.

The regulator, the ACMA has now to wait until the Minister confirms how much revenue the spectrum auction is required to raise, and then depending on how many bidders there are, will have to set the reserve price accordingly.

The auction for both 700Mhz and 2.5Ghz bands is set for next April. Although the Ministerial intervention is not expected to delay the auction, it may cause the preparatory schedule to be compressed to meet the deadline.

On the web: The Australian

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Tags: acma  radio spectrum  Australia