ANZ Broadband: Telstra deregisters sites; 2degrees enables eSIMs

The current news on 5G, broadband, and telecommunications services that Australian IT relies on.

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Telstra deregisters sites so Optus can roll out 5G

Telstra will deregister 162 radiocommunication sites in the 900 MHz spectrum it registered with the Australian Communications and Markets Authority (ACMA) in January 2022. The decision came after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) launched an investigation as it was “was concerned that the decision was made for the substantial purpose or had the likely effect of hindering Singtel Optus Pty Limited (Optus) in rolling out its 5G network”.

Telstra currently holds a licence for the sites in question until June 2024, however, the ACCC argued that the telco had not registered a new site since 2016.

The December 2021 spectrum auction meant that some of these sites would be transferred to Optus in July 2024. But ACMA allows winning bidders to have early access to the spectrum under special circumstances before licences commence.

The registration of the sites by Telstra, mainly located in major cities or inner regional areas, meant Optus would not be able to have early access to those. ACCC also argued that since registering the sites in January, Telstra “has only used a limited number of these sites”.

Optus will now be able to apply to early access to the sites. Optus said in a statement it was concerned Telstra was doing this to delay its 5G rollout.

A Telstra spokesperson said Telstra does not agree with the “ACCC’s views that this was potentially anticompetitive”.

“We identified an opportunity to reduce congestion in a small number of places by moving 3G traffic onto our 900 MHz spectrum, given it is unused and we own until 2024. At the same time this would free up 850 MHz spectrum to meet the growing demands of our 5G customers. It makes absolute sense for us to use the spectrum we own in this way to maximise the experience for our 3G and 5G customers,” the spokesperson said.

Telstra said it will deregister sites in areas Optus demonstrates it will use the spectrum in its 5G rollout but will continue to use equipment and sites in areas where Optus is not rolling out.

As part of the undertaking, Telstra executives, including departing CEO Andrew Penn, and staff responsible for Telstra’s spectrum strategy, will be required to complete practical compliance training on the competition law.

2degrees enables eSIMs for New Zealand business users

New Zealand’s 2degrees has rolled out eSIM functionality for its business customers across a range of Apple, Samsung and Oppo devices, with services for consumer launching later in August. An eSIM removes the need for a physical SIM card and allows users to virtually switch between two active SIMs on a single handset.

According to 2degrees, there is great demand for eSIMs in the market especially among users who juggle a work and personal device, want to use a local SIM while roaming overseas, or want a backup service on their phone.

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