Archive for the ‘Spectrum’ Category

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Telefonica O2 and e-Plus merger: MVNO access strengthens competition and wholesale and retail levels

July 8, 2014

Last week’s approval by the European Commission of the acquisition of e-Plus by Telefonica Deutschland (O2) became possible through concessions at wholesale level. Telefonica committed “to enter into capacity based wholesale agreements with one or several (up to three) Upfront Mobile Bitstream Access MVNOs (“Upfront MBA MVNOs”) in Germany prior to the closing of the merger.” This broadly follows the capacity based MVNO deal offered by Hutchison in Ireland to gain approval for its takeover of O2 Ireland.

Germany already has a vibrant MVNO market, not least as a result of the e-Plus multi-brand wholesale strategy. In regards to the wholesale markets, the Commission is satisfied that these MVNOs will not be harmed by reduced competition at network level. The existence of competitive MVNOs also acts as an insurance against unwarranted retail price hikes and hence alleviates the Commission’s concerns in the retail market.

The merger will take costs out of the mobile industry in Germany so shareholders will benefit. Telefonica Deutschland further committed to “make the following offers: (a) a spectrum offer consisting of the lease of 2×10 MHz in the 2.1 GHz band and of 2×10 MHz in the 2.6 GHz band; (b) a national roaming offer; (c) a divestiture of sites offer; (d) a passive radio network sharing offer; and (e) a sale of shops offer.” An Upfront MBA MVNOs might buy some spectrum. However, the Mobile Bitstream Access effectively provides access to capacity. There is little point in owning spectrum; indeed such a limited spectrum holding would make little sense without immediately entering into a spectrum sharing agreement with Telefónica Deutschland. There is little differences between this and the MBA MVNO arrangement.

Passive infrastructure sharing had been a feature of the German market for some time. Perhaps Vodafone Germany and T-Mobile will also look to increase the sharing of network resources, active and passive with each other and also with the merged Telefonica Deutschland and e-plus. Are we seeing the first steps of an evolution towards a national neutral host network with regulated wholesale prices?

With return of capital employed in the European mobile industry below that of some regulated utilities such as water and gas, investors may be better off by effectively pulling capital out of the mobile industry by means of outright consolidation or through sharing networks including spectrum, i.e. a “merger lite” strategy, becoming regulated utilities.

Noteworthy is that e-Plus was one of the four operators bidding for the 2x30MHz of digital dividend 800MHz spectrum in Germany which did not obtain any block. The outcome of the spectrum auction is likely to have been a factor in KPN’s decision to put e-Plus up for sale. In the next German spectrum auction only three operators will compete for spectrum, probably resulting in auction prices close to reserve prices. This is another reason for investors to be cheerful about the trend towards consolidation in the European mobile industry.

By Stefan Zehle, CEO, Coleago Consulting

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Telefonica O2 and e-Plus merger: a new 4th network operator makes little sense

April 17, 2014

Today the FT reported that in order to overcome objections to the proposed take-over of E-Plus “Telefónica has offered to equip a new German mobile competitor with spectrum”.  This is similar to the offer by Hutchinson 3 in the context of its take-over of Orange Austria. In the event there was of course no new network based entrant in Austria, the aim of the Telefonica O2 and E-Plus tie up is to take costs out of the industry by reducing the number of mobile network operators. At this stage of the industry life cycle consolidation at network level is expected. This is driven by high prices paid for spectrum and continuing high LTE capex while revenues remain flat or in decline. When free cash flow declines, capital has to be taken out of the industry simply to get back to returns that are not below the cost of capital.

The FT also reports that Telefónica promised concessions for MVNOs. Competition remedies at wholesale level in the form of a reference wholesale access price offer – similar to what was agreed to by Hutchison in Austria – are a much more effective remedy. This is particularly true for Germany which already has a vibrant MVNO market. Indeed E-Plus pioneered the multi-band MVNO strategy and hence concessions at wholesale level are likely to be impactful. Given the competitive MVNO market in Germany, regulating wholesale prices provides an effective insurance against retail price increases, which might otherwise result from the tie-up.

If indeed wholesale price regulation ends up as the key remedy, and this in Europe’s largest mobile market, we are one step closer to the structural separation of the European mobile industry into NetCos and ServiceCos.

Written by Stefan Zehle, CEO, Coleago Consulting

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Consolidation in the European mobile industry is inevitable, but what path will it take?

April 7, 2014

It has been pointed out many times that the EU with around 100 mobile operators, serving a roughly similar size population as the USA, is hugely fragmented compared to the mobile industry in the USA. The historic reason is easy to understand, but the fight put up by Directorate-General for Competition of the European Commission to halt in-country consolidation is harder to understand.

In the model used to analyse the impact of mergers on retail prices, the Competition Directorate, assumes that retail prices will always go up as a result of a merger between two MNOs in the same country. It does not assume that the efficiencies brought about by a merger would, at least in part, be passed on to consumers in form of lower prices or better service in terms of coverage or access speeds.

Network sharing is encouraged under EU rules as long as it is limited to the Node B and RNC and excludes spectrum and the core. A great deal of cost sits in the RAN, and hence RAN sharing could be termed “merger lite”. With LTE, it is efficient to deploy the technology in as wide a band as possible. Hence significant additional savings could be brought about if spectrum is shared.  This reduces competition at network level, but also delivers consumer benefits in form of higher access speeds.

The transactions now awaiting approval by the Competition Directorate are the O2 and Eplus tie-up in Germany, Hutchison’s takeover of O2 in Ireland and, if the acquisition of SFR by Altice fails, then also the Bouygues – SFR take-over in France.  The conditions the European Commission attached to the Hutchison 3 take-over of Orange Austria may serve as an indicator as to the conditions that might be imposed to allow these deals to go ahead. Among other conditions, Hutchison Austria had to publish a wholesale access price reference offer for MVNOs. By regulating wholesale prices, the Commission in effect bought insurance against sharp increases in retail prices because it would allow MVNOs to undercut these.

The conditions imposed on Hutchison Austria may be a first step towards the structural separation of the mobile industry into Netcos and Retailcos. In a world where mobile network operators share much of their network and perhaps spectrum, these mobile operators start to look more like MVNOs on a shared network. Structural separation may not be a “horror scenario” for mobile operators if returns on invested capital can increase as a result.

Looking at what business mobile operators are actually in, it seems that they are to a large extent hire purchase phone vendors. Comparing SIM only postpaid tariffs with postpaid plans that include a “free” smartphone, it appears that the price for SIM only deals is 50% below plans with a bundled handset. Therefore roughly 50% of a mobile network operator’s business is not about running a network but about selling phones on credit. Other than marketing and selling phones and SIMs, customer care and billing are a big cost bucket attributable to the retail activity of an MNO.

Retail activities are scalable, i.e. can be done profitably at different volumes. In contrast the Netco activity is not scalable because costs are fixed. Netco returns are a function of network utilisation. By structurally separating retail and wholesale activities in exchange for being allowed to merge networks including spectrum, MNOs might see lower costs and as a result higher returns, all the while prices at retail level may not move or even decline.

Barriers to entry and exit in the Mobile Netco activity are extremely high. We are now in the maturity stage of the industry life cycle, and it is normal for consolidation to take place. Furthermore, regulators have hastened the need for consolidation because they took billions of Euros out of the industry through spectrum auctions. This had the effect of dramatically reducing returns to investors. And yet, the Directorate responsible for telecoms, DG Connect, ceaselessly points out the benefit to European industry of increased investment in mobile broadband networks. How can the policy objectives of DG Connect and DG Competition be delivered simultaneously?

From the industry perspective, if structural separation allows returns to increase despite increased competition at retail level, then structural separation might be the way forward. Competition might drive down margins in the retail activity, but this is not problematic because in contrast to the Netco activity reducing capital or even exiting the retail activity is possible.

The proposed consolidation in Germany is most interesting in this regard. Eplus pioneered a multi-brand wholesale and MVNO strategy precisely because E-Plus was sub-scale. As can be seen by leafing through some older KPN investor presentations (KPN E-Plus Seminar, Delivering profitable growth, Sep 2006), this resulted in lower subscriber acquisition costs and higher EBITDA. The strategy brought about a flourishing MVNO and reseller activity, thus increasing consumer choice. This means within Eplus the set-up exists to take the concept forward to full structural separation.

From the mobile industry perspective a further benefit of consolidation at network level would be that governments can no longer pit competing operators against each other in spectrum auctions, such as the forthcoming second digital dividend. High spectrum reserve prices would finally be seen for what they are: a tax on the mobile industry that ultimately has to be paid for by the consumer. Furthermore it may be better to be in a regulated industry with reasonable returns rather than in an industry with wafer thin returns, high investment needs and continued technology risk.

Written by Stefan Zehle, CEO Coleago Consulting

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Wi-Fi offload won’t reduce the need for more mobile spectrum

February 5, 2014

During the Wi-Fi Offload Summit in Frankfurt on Jan. 23, a number of interesting developments in the Wi-Fi space were presented. A key question for mobile operators is whether Wi-Fi offload reduces the growth in mobile broadband (HSPA and LTE) traffic and thus the need for more mobile spectrum.

Research presented by Deutsche Telecom from tests in Hamburg and Rotterdam showed that when Wi-Fi is advertised and available free of charge in a particular area, this immediately generates substantial Wi-Fi traffic but does not reduce the volume of mobile data traffic. Towerstream Inc. presented conflicting evidence from its outdoor Wi-Fi offload network in New York.

From other findings presented, it is clear that both Wi-Fi and LTE traffic are increasing dramatically. Perhaps what is at work here is the Jevons paradox, which proposes that as technology progresses, the increase in efficiency with which a resource is used tends to increase (rather than decrease) the rate of consumption of that resource. The increasing availability of free Wi-Fi coupled with a rapid uptake of smartphones and cheap tablets would underpin this theory as one feeds off the other.

The growth in Wi-Fi is also driven by the desire of shops and malls to engage with shoppers on their in-store Wi-Fi networks. There is marketing value for retailers to have shoppers on their Wi-Fi network as soon as the shopper walks into the store. EE in the U.K. is turning this into a small business line, equipping supermarkets such as ASDA with a Wi-Fi infrastructure. Rather than identifying shoppers at the checkout when they swipe their loyalty card, ASDA hopes to be able to identify and engage with shoppers from the minute they are within the store’s Wi-Fi coverage. For example, coupons could be sent to a handset at the beginning of the shopping trip and can be used right away rather than languishing at the bottom of a shopping bag. This is just one of the many marketing benefits of free in-store Wi-Fi.

The simultaneous growth in Wi-Fi and LTE traffic may also be explained by the fact that Wi-Fi has other uses compared to cellular. The proliferation of TV Anywhere apps turns tablets and laptops into TV outlets, and in Canada, Bell has launched the first wireless TV proposition. TV over Wi-Fi creates a surge of Wi-Fi traffic in residential areas. Other devices in offices, public indoor spaces and outdoors rely increasingly on Wi-Fi connectivity because it is cheaper and more flexible than cable connections. This all takes Wi-Fi capacity in cities and raises the Wi-Fi noise floor.

In regard to the rapid adoption of tablets, all are Wi-Fi-enabled, but few are 3G (HSPA) or LTE-enabled. As people take these tablets out of their homes they will look for Wi-Fi access, thus increasing Wi-Fi hotspot usage. However, smartphones have a personal hotspot feature and where tablets are not in Wi-Fi coverage, we are seeing “cellular on-loading” from Wi-Fi devices.

Having paid for a shiny new LTE device, some customers would prefer to pay another €10-20 a month rather than having to faff about with logging onto Wi-Fi. Asking smartphone users to choose between LTE and Wi-Fi is the antithesis of a ubiquitous mobile broadband experience. However, Wi-Fi 2.0 with SIM-based authentication increases the ease of Wi-Fi access and may even be transparent to the user.

Another factor which determines the amount of LTE vs. Wi-Fi traffic are the policies for applications set in smartphones. For example, which bearer is allowed or preferred for which application. Some apps do not work via LTE; for example. FaceTime on the iPhone. In the U.S., the first version of the iPhone 5 with iOS 6 did allow FaceTime over LTE. This came as a bit of a shock to cellular operators as AT&T blocked FaceTime over cellular on most plans, but subsequently changed the policy. What cellular operators really want is to be able to set policies dynamically based on the app, the location, time of day and perhaps even the type of customer.

Nevertheless, most mobile operators have some Wi-Fi offload strategy. The focus is not so much on relieving congestion in busy areas but to deliver an “always best connected” value proposition. In short, LTE and Wi-Fi complement each other. The growth in Wi-Fi does not reduce the need for more cellular spectrum to serve the growth in mobile broadband traffic.

Written by Stefan Zehle, CEO Coleago Consulting

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Hong Kong’s hybrid approach to 3G spectrum renewal creates a “freerider” problem for the incumbents

December 19, 2013

Hong Kong’s Office of the Communications Authority (OFCA) has decided to adopt a hybrid approach to the renewal of incumbents’ 3G spectrum. OFCA will distribute two thirds of the spectrum to the incumbents through an administered allocation process and the remaining third will be put up for auction. The incumbents have the opportunity to reacquire the spectrum through the auction but it also opens up the opportunity for a new player (and many are speculating the China Mobile Hong Kong is the primary candidate) to acquire the spectrum.

When incumbents value spectrum one of the most significant sources of spectrum value attributed to spectrum in an auction is the ability to block new market entry. This “blocking value” can be very high for incumbents, especially in mature markets, as a new player seeking to win share to drive economies of scale often sparks a value destroying pricing or commission war – the experience of Three entering the UK market is a good case in point.

China Mobile may place a high strategic value on gaining access to 3G spectrum in Hong Kong and so the cost of blocking in the auction could be high. All the incumbents have an incentive to block new market entry. However, in an ideal world an incumbent would prefer “freeride” and rely on another incumbent to pay any premium for market entry. This creates a coordination problem for the incumbents and this risk is that they fail to “reach agreement” through their bidding strategies as to who will take the responsibility for blocking. The result may well be that new entry occurs despite all incumbents being heavily incentivised to avoid it.

Written by Graham Friend, Managing Director, Coleago Consulting

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An upset in Norway following an auction of existing spectrum assets

December 18, 2013

In my article on spectrum renewal by auction, which was recently published on www.telecoms.com, I highlighted the potential risks that the Norwegian regulator, the NPT, was taking in renewing spectrum using a first price sealed bid auction. http://www.telecoms.com/197611/uncertainty-and-risk-the-results-of-spectrum-renewal-by-auction/ In the article I asked whether Norway would provide the first real upset and whether an incumbent would be deprived of key spectrum assets.

The NPT announced the results of the auction today and whilst incumbents Telenor and NetCom secured spectrum in the key 800, 900 and 1800MHz bands the other incumbent, Tele2, failed to win any spectrum at all. Tele2’s CEO, Mats Granryd made clear in the company’s press release that they regarded the auction outcome as an upset. Granryd said, “We are obviously not satisfied with the outcome of the auction, but we will continue to build on our strong position in Norway.” Instead of Tele2 securing spectrum, the mysterious Telco Data secured a robust portfolio of spectrum assets comprising 2×10MHz in the 800MHz band, 2×5MHz in the 900MHz band and 2×20MHz in the 1800MHz band.

So what contributed to this upset?

The choice of auction format is the primary candidate. In a first price sealed bid auction bidders effectively write a number down in an envelope and the highest bidders win and pay the amount they each bid. In such an auction it makes sense to bid less than the value you place on the spectrum or, as game theorists like to say “shade your bid.” The challenge, however, is to determine how much to shade your bid. Shade aggressively and if you are successful in the auction you create significant value. The risk, however, is that you shade too aggressively and someone with a lower valuation, but who shaded less aggressively, wins the spectrum.

Coleago Consulting has supported operators in over 60 spectrum auctions and we have worked on behalf of both incumbents and new entrants. As markets have matured it has become increasingly apparent that the business case for new market entry is not an attractive one and heroic assumptions are often required just to turn the business case positive. Tele2, as the smallest player in the Norwegian market, may well have taken the view that they only needed to outbid a new entrant and that a new entrant would have had a very low valuation. As a result Tele2 may have decided to shade very aggressively in the hope of securing spectrum at a low price and thus create significant value. The combination of very aggressive shading from Tele2 however and a super charged new entrant business case is likely to have generated the upset.

Written by Graham Friend, Managing Director at Coleago Consulting

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The Data Tsunami is coming to East Africa

November 20, 2013

Coleago Consulting discusses regional investment, spectrum and infrastructure strategies at the TMT Finance & Investment East Africa 2013 Conference

This is a really critical time for the East Africa region. Significant decisions about the framework for investment, particularly regulation and spectrum allocation for 3G and 4G, will have a fantastic impact on regional growth.

There are a number of important spectrum auctions coming up across the region and operators are looking at how best to use spectrum, infrastructure sharing, new technologies and business models, to meet the massive demand for data services. The industry is now entering a transformational stage with unparalleled fixed-line and mobile consolidation.

Despite significant growth and achievements achieved over the past decade, major new investment, innovation and infrastructure roll out is needed for the next phase of development.

Highlighting the changing telecoms landscape in East Africa, next week (November 26th) sees the first TMT Finance & Investment East Africa 2013 Conference arrive in Nairobi.

In my first conference presentation of my new role here at Coleago, I will be making a keynote on “The Data Tsunami: Spectrum Allocation and Infrastructure Sharing” at the event, discussing the actions that regulators and operators are taking to cope with the global “data tsunami” that started building with 3G and is now accelerating with 4G. If you’re attending the event, or considering it, and would be interested in meeting, feel free to contact me – chris.buist@coleago.com

Written by Chris Buist, Director, Coleago Consulting

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Bidders in spectrum auction attach a high value to 1800MHz spectrum

October 25, 2013

The multi-band combinatorial spectrum auction (CCA) in Austria ended on the 21st of October, with bidders paying €2,014 million for 2x30MHz of 800MHz, 2x35MHz of 900MHz and 2x75MHz of 1800MHz spectrum. The 800MHz spectrum was new spectrum whereas the two other bands were renewals. The only bidders were the three incumbent operators Austria Telekom, T-Mobile, Hutchison.

The overall price paid for sub-1GHz spectrum and the 1800MHz spectrum amounted to €0.85/MHz/pop. This is only slightly less than the implied price for the sub-1GHz spectrum of €0.96/MHz/pop.

The price for sub-1 GHz spectrum is roughly in line with prices paid for 800MHz spectrum in recent European auctions.  The price paid for 800MHz spectrum in Germany was €0.73/MHz/pop (May 2010) and the average in Europe during 2010 to 2013 was €0.52/MHz/pop. So the price paid in Austria for 800MHz spectrum is relatively high. Benchmark prices paid to renew 900MHz spectrum are in the €0.19-0.53 range whereas the implied price paid in Austria amounts to €0.96/MHz/pop.

Exhibit 1: Austrian Spectrum Auction Results

Austria

 

However, since the overall price per MHz per pop paid is only slightly lower than the implied price for sub-1GHz spectrum, this means that operators valued the 1800Mhz spectrum very highly at €0.76/MHz pop.  This is significantly above prices paid for 1800MHz spectrum in recent auctions, and certainly massively more than prices paid for 2.6GHz spectrum. Benchmark prices paid to renew 1800MHz spectrum are in the €0.10 – 0.21 range.  In this context the comments by Telekom Austria’s CEO Hannes Ametsreiter, referring to a “bitter pill to swallow,” are quite appropriate.

The auction outcome highlights that in the context of the rapid growth of data traffic, spectrum is becoming an ever more valuable resource. The re-farming of 1800MHz from GSM to LTE requires more spectrum in the short term because spectrum resources cannot be used efficiently. In that sense governments can hold a gun to operators’ heads and demand almost any price.

1800MHz spectrum is the spectrum of choice for LTE in Europe. Most operators have built a grid based on 1800MHz and hence the 1800MHz band provides both an LTE capacity and an LTE coverage layer. In contrast 2.6GHz is “only” a capacity band. I placed quotation marks around the word “only” because LTE capacity is of course very important in urban areas and here cell sizes are quite small. Nevertheless, the in-building propagation characteristics of 1800MHz spectrum are significantly better than for 2.6GHz spectrum and in-building capacity matters for mobile broadband.

The auction outcome, with A1 Telekom (Telekom Austria) acquiring 2/3rds of the 800MHz band means that the company now holds 53.8% of sub-1 GHz spectrum compared to a subscriber market share of around 39%. As the operator with the weakest cash flow it is likely that Hutchison faced budget constraints. The result is that the market leader managed has managed to acquire a disproportionate share of spectrum.

The design of the Austrian auction and the absence of effective caps on sub 1GHz spectrum holdings suggest that the Austrian government is not particularly concerned about the effects of spectrum concentration on competition. On the other hand, the spectrum divesture conditions imposed on Hutchison (European Commission, DG Competition, CASE M.6497) to clear its acquisition of One Austria, suggests a very different view of spectrum concentration is applied when it comes to approving in-market consolidation.  The only saving grace for Hutchison is that there was no new entrant and so the requirement to divest 2x10MHz the 2.6GHz frequency band lapses; however the MVNO access requirement remains.

While Hutchison managed to increase its sub-1 GHz spectrum holding from 1.6MHz to 2x5MHz, the cost per eNodeB of deploying LTE is 2x5MHz is roughly the same as for Telekom Austria deploying LTE in 2x15MHz in the same band. Furthermore, there are already many smartphones with 800MHz LTE, where Telekom Austria acquired 2x20MHz, but as yet, none with 900MHz LTE.

In the light of this the comments by Trionow, CEO of H3G, describing the auction as a “disaster for the industry” are understandable. Certainly it is a disaster for Hutchison and for a competitive mobile broadband market in Austria.

 

Written by Stefan Zehle, CEO, Coleago Consulting

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European commission proposal ignores the fundamentals: We need to create an environment that attracts capital into the EU telecoms sector

September 18, 2013

The European Commission’s adoption of regulatory proposals for a Connected Continent announced by Neelie Kroes on the 11th of September 2013 are as polemic as can be expected from a politician. The headline grabbing proposal deflects from the failings of member states to adopt sensible policies with regards to developing the telecoms sector. In its opening paragraph the proposal declares that “The overarching aim is to build a connected, competitive continent and enabling sustainable digital jobs and industries; making life better by ensuring consumers can enjoy the digital devices and services they love; and making it easier for European businesses & entrepreneurs to create the jobs of the future.”

To achieve these objectives substantial investments are required. Only 12 days prior to the Commission’s proposal, on Thursday 05 September 2013, PwC published a detailed analysis which showed that mobile operators cannot make adequate returns on capital employed. For the past three years the return on invested capital (ROIC) made by Europe’s telcos was below the cost of capital of around 8%-9%. In the mobile sector this is in part due to the high spectrum licence fees charged by national governments.

And yet with statements such as “It is also essential that citizens … are protected from unfair charges and practices such as roaming rip-offs and opaque contracts” the Commission conjures up an image of ultra-profitable telecoms operators which fleece consumers.

What the European telecoms sector needs most is a climate with the regulatory certainty which is favourable to investment. Only investment in the sector will achieve the Commission’s aim – which we all agree with – of excellent fixed and mobile internet connectivity and communication without borders within the EU.

Furthermore, the Commission proposal contains contradictions. Vice President Neelie Kroes said “The aim is to gradually make the telecoms sector a “normal” economic sector with limited ‘ex ante’ rules and responsibility shifting to ex-post regulation” and then demands that “Operators will have to charge no more than a domestic long-distance call for all fixed line calls to other EU member states. Any extra costs have to be objectively justified.”  “Normal” economic sectors do not “objectively justify” prices based on cost but charge what the market will bear. The image of the Coca Cola bottle in the proposal is a fine example. The price per litre of Coca Cola varies hugely between a discount supermarket and a beach club on the Cote d’Azur. And yet, nobody suggests regulating prices for Coca Cola.

On the positive side, the proposal highlights member states’ regulatory failings and tardiness in allocating spectrum for LTE.  This, with a call for a European authorisation for telecoms operators – and by implication European telecoms regulation – is a very positive development. This is a prerequisite for the much needed consolidation in the EU telecoms sector which will then give investors a chance to earn adequate returns.

Written by Stefan Zehle, CEO of Coleago Consulting

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Australian spectrum auction failure – update

July 30, 2013

“The Australian” newspaper reported on July 30, 2013, that TELSTRA is demanding that the government again set a high price for crucial wireless spectrum, despite warnings by Ian Hayne,  the chief architect of the 3G auctions in 2000 that Canberra had set the reserve price too high at this year’s “failed” digital dividend auction. Ian Hayne, has written to the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy warning that the “unsustainable” reserve price was “the biggest single design flaw”. “The digital dividend auction was a failure of public policy in the communications sector of perhaps the worst kind that I have seen in my career,” Mr Hayne says in his submission.

In my blog post “Australian spectrum auction failure” of May 13, 2013 I highlighted the issue which was also picked up by Telecom.com where it elicited a sharp response from Chris Chapman, the head of the Australian telecoms regulator. It would seem that I am not the only person who views the Australian 700MHz auction as a policy failure. The auction may have been executed “flawlessly” as claimed by ACMA, but with the minister setting reserve price as he did, the result was still a failure.

Written by Stefan Zehle, CEO, Coleago Consulting

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