Telstra secures spectrum for $616 million

Telstra has invested $616 million to secure 2x10MHz in the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s 850/900 MHz band auction.

Despite being the maximum amount of ‘low band’ spectrum Telstra was allowed to bid for under the competition limits set by the government, they now hold 2x40MHz of low-band spectrum in the major cities and 2x45MHz in regional and remote areas, which more than any other carrier.

Telstra told shareholders that the low band spectrum will help support Australia’s digital economy ambitions critical to the nation’s pandemic recovery. The spectrum is essential for carrying mobile data, particularly 5G, over the vast distances needed across regional and remote areas and also enables better coverage indoors and other difficult to reach places in metro locations.

The bid helps ensure Telstra continues to meet the growing customer demand, especially in regional areas. Their current 850MHz spectrum licence was key for the rollout of 5G which now extends to more than 4,000 sites, reaching 75% of the population. This new spectrum will help Telstra meet the commitment in their T25 strategy to provide 5G coverage to 95% of the population by 2025.

Telstra also said would keep investing to ensure it maintained its leading mobile coverage and helped regional and remote communities fully participate in the digital economy.

Vicki Brady, Chief Financial Officer and Group Executive, Strategy & Finance, said securing this spectrum was strategically important for Telstra and its commitment to providing its customers the best mobile network across the country. “Over the seven years to end FY22, we will have invested $11 billion in our mobile network nationally with $4 billion of this invested in our regional mobile network. Because of this our mobile network now covers one million square kilometres more than any other telco – that’s the size of New South Wales and Victoria combined. This is especially important as our nation rapidly digitises, as migration to regional areas continues at pace, and as billions of devices, like water sensors, home and business security cameras, and smart meters are generating data like never before.”