Conroy opts to negotiate wireless licenses

 

15-year renewals on the table.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has announced he plans to negotiate with Telstra, Optus, VHA and Vividwireless for renewal of their 15-year wireless spectrum licenses, rather than auction them off in the first instance.

But the Minister today warned renewal was "subject to an agreement on price" and that licenses could still be put up for auction - the default option for license reissue under Australian law - if negotiations failed.

"The Government will seek a fee that reflects the scarcity and value of this important public resource," Conroy said.

"Renewal is not a certainty simply because a carrier services a significant customer base. Licensees will still need to meet public interest criteria.

"An auction process remains a genuine option where I am satisfied that renewal is not in the public interest."

Conroy said his office had undertaken "a detailed valuation of the 15-year spectrum licenses". A spokesman for the minister was contacted for comment.

He said he had taken the path of negotiation rather than auction after a public consultation process last year.

The Government had listened to the industry in deciding to renew spectrum licenses for another 15 years rather than pursuing shorter terms this time around.

"We know that where some long-term licences have come up for renewal overseas, there has been a short term roll-over," Conroy said.

"The Government has listened to industry concerns that this approach does not provide sufficient certainty ... and so we have decided to undertake a process to provide long-term reissue."

The licences were due to expire between 2013 and 2017. They were primarily used for 2G and 3G services.


Conroy opts to negotiate wireless licenses
 
 
 
Top Stories
Abbott brings back Science minister in cabinet reshuffle
Science tacked onto to Industry title.
 
Beyond ACORN: Cracking the infosec skills nut
[Blog post] Could the Government's cybercrime focus be a catalyst for change?
 
The iTnews Benchmark Awards
Meet the best of the best.
 
 
Sign up to receive iTnews email bulletins
   FOLLOW US...
Latest Comments
Polls
Who do you trust most to protect your private data?







   |   View results
Your bank
  38%
 
Your insurance company
  4%
 
A technology company (Google, Facebook et al)
  8%
 
Your telco, ISP or utility
  8%
 
A retailer (Coles, Woolworths et al)
  3%
 
A Federal Government agency (ATO, Centrelink etc)
  19%
 
An Australian law enforcement agency (AFP, ASIO et al)
  14%
 
A State Government agency (Health dept, etc)
  6%
TOTAL VOTES: 1912

Vote
Do you support the abolition of the Office of the Information Commissioner?