Is the digital dividend priced too high?

At the end of this month the spectrum made available by the switch off of analogue TVs goes up for sale. But has the government set too high a price?

Senator Stephen Conroy has determined the reserve price for the 700 MHz spectrum should be $1.36 per MHz pop. It’s more than double the rate paid for the 800 MHz spectrum in the UK recently, with many other European auctions falling even further below our local target.

Still, a high price makes some sense. After all, there are only two bidders – Telstra and Optus. With each set a maximum allocation, basically they’ll each get as much as they want, provided they pay the reserve. If some of the spectrum goes unsold is it a bad thing? It just means the carriers bid again further down the track, when they meet it.

In this week’s CommsDay CrossTalk podcast Phil Dobbie talks about the auction with independent telecoms analysts Chris Coughlan and Ovum’s David Kennedy.

We’ll also celebrate the 40th anniversary of the mobile phone. It was April 3rd 1973 when Martin Cooper, an engineer at Motorola, made the first call on a handheld device intended for regular users.

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