The ACCC has accepted a court-enforceable undertaking from Telstra to address competition concerns about Telstra’s registration of radiocommunications sites in low band spectrum that interfered with Optus’ plans to roll out its 5G network nationally.

Following an intensive investigation, the ACCC was concerned that Telstra’s registrations of these sites had the substantial purpose or likely effect of preventing or hindering Optus from deployment of its 5G network and from engaging in competitive conduct in the retail mobile market. Access to low band spectrum is crucial to providing core network coverage for mobile services and the rollout of 5G.

The undertaking requires Telstra to deregister all remaining radiocommunications sites it registered with the ACMA in the 900 MHz spectrum band in January 2022 that would have prevented Optus from early access to the spectrum.

“Telstra’s undertaking will ensure Optus is not hindered from expanding its 5G rollout, giving more Australians access to a choice of 5G services in regional and metropolitan Australia,” ACCC Commissioner Liza Carver said.

“This is critical as 5G network coverage becomes an increasingly important factor in consumer choice in mobile phones and mobile plans.”

“Telstra’s undertaking promptly addresses the ACCC’s competition concerns and stops the likely harm to competition and consumers quickly. It is an efficient and effective way to achieve a positive market outcome,” Ms Carver said.

“We were concerned that Telstra’s registration of 315 radiocommunications sites in the 900 MHz spectrum band had the substantial purpose or likely effect of lessening competition by Optus, as Telstra knew of the importance of this spectrum band to Optus’ 5G rollout plan.”

“Competition is key to driving innovation and investment in new technology and providing consumers with greater choice, better quality services and lower prices,” Ms Carver said

“The ACCC will continue to closely monitor the market.”

Telstra has also undertaken to ensure that its board of directors, CEO and other senior staff are given competition law compliance training.

Originally published by the ACCC