Telstra takes aim at Defence spectrum portfolio

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Telstra takes aim at Defence spectrum portfolio

Bloated and ripe for the picking?

Telstra is manoeuvring to muscle in on Defence's spectrum assets in the belief Australia's military is too well-endowed with such assets.

The telco's chief technology officer, Hugh Bradlow, told a Communications Alliance event in Sydney he believed public service organisations — such as Defence — should be "sharing public infrastructure".

"Large swathes of spectrum ... are used by an organisation that's very hard to go to war with, like the Defence force," Bradlow said. "They don't need those swathes of spectrum".

Public safety agencies are already proposing a shared mobile network of their own using prized 700 MHz spectrum, though Telstra opposes any such spectral allocation and construction of a private network in it.

Instead, Telstra argues it should run the public safety network for agencies over a "hardened" portion of its existing mobile network. It produced a white paper on the proposal which it handed to communications regulators in June.

Aside from slimming Defence's spectrum portfolio, Telstra also implored the Federal Government to be "more far sighted" with the financial side of spectrum re-allocation.

"In terms of how they auction spectrum ... they should be looking at the overall economic benefit as opposed to that short term windfall," he said, suggesting that the proposed use of the spectrum be weighed against the price paid.

The suggestion appeared to be based on the approach taken to allocate valuable 4G spectrum in New Zealand, where lower reserve prices have been set for an impending auction, balanced against requirements to bring service to under-serviced areas.

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