Singtel Optus retorted to suggestions that Telstra’s ability buy radio waves spectrum would harm regional communities. It argued that any loosening or reducing of the restrictions proposed would decrease competition and impact its ability to satisfy customers’ needs.

Kelly Bayer Rosmarin, the chief executive of the telco, stated that the auction for “low band spectrum” was to ensure competitive prices and better coverage in Australia. Andrew Sheridan (Vice President of regulatory and Public Affairs at Optus) said that changes to existing limits could affect its ability deliver voice and data services to regional areas.

“The proposed auction rules will ensure that all mobile operators have enough spectrum to satisfy their current and future requirements,” Ms Bayer Rosamarin stated. “This auction is not about exclusion of any party, but it is about including the possibility for competition and choice within regional areas that benefits all customers.

Optus’ war of words was sparked by comments made by Telstra chief executive Andy Penn about proposed limits on the amount of spectrum that could be bid for at an upcoming auction. Optus’ war on words was sparked in part by comments made by Telstra chief executive Andy Penn regarding proposed limits to the spectrum that could be offered at an upcoming auction.

Mr Penn is asking the federal government for a review of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) limits that limit the spectrum Telstra can bid on.

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Telstra will have a limited amount of low-band spectrum that it can purchase under the proposal. It will also have to surrender a portion the spectrum it owns under a separate license so it can be sold for a longer-term period. Low-band spectrum, which is essential in rural and regional areas, is used for mobile data transmission over large distances. This would result in a decrease in spectrum holdings, which could affect the quality services in rural areas.

Because they allow for competition among telco competitors, auction limits are a standard practice. Optus is asking for it to be allowed to bid on approximately 43 percent of the spectrum available. Telstra wants the government to grant it this permission, but Optus would prefer it to be further restricted. Mr Sheridan stated that Telstra’s comments were meant to ensure it maintains a dominant position within regional Australia.