On 19 March 2013, the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (the Minister) issued a direction requiring the ACMA to:
- not notify the winning bidders of the balance of the winning price payable by the bidders for the spectrum allocated as a result of the auction before:
- if any of the spectrum licences to be issued for the parts of the spectrum allocated to that winning bidder has a commencement date of 1 October 2014 —19 August 2014; or
- otherwise—1 October 2014.
- extend the date of the eligibility deadline for the auction from 21 March 2013 to 28 March 2013 and publish another notice on its website, giving details of the change to the date of the eligibility deadline.
You can view the direction from the Comlaw website:
Australian Communications and Media Authority (Spectrum Licence Allocation – Combinatorial Clock Auction – Eligibility Deadline and Payment Terms) Direction 2013
Further information on the direction can be found in the Minister’s media release.
Timing of payments
It was originally anticipated that the successful bidders would be required to pay the balance of their respective winning price shortly after the auction concludes, that is, in mid-2013.
In deciding to change the timing of the final payments for the spectrum allocated at the auction, the Minister was cognisant that for some licensees, payments for the reissue of expiring spectrum licences and the spectrum allocated at the digital dividend auction may both be required within a short period of time. Prior to making the direction, the Minister consulted with the applicants in the auction.
The Radiocommunications (Spectrum Licence Allocation—Combinatorial Clock Auction) Determination 2012 (the Determination) requires the ACMA to publish a notice on its website setting out various information relating to the auction process, including the eligibility deadline.
To participate in the auction, an auction applicant must nominate its initial eligibility points (this is the number of points a bidder may use to bid on lots in the auction) and make an eligibility payment (or ‘deposit’) that is calculated on the basis of the number of eligibility points nominated by the applicant before the eligibility deadline.
The Minister is mindful the change in the timing for auction payments may affect the bidding strategies of the bidders in the auction, and consequently may affect the number of eligibility points that an applicant wishes to nominate. This change in the eligibility deadline will allow applicants additional time to consider their bidding strategies.
Due to the Minister’s direction, the digital dividend auction will now commence on 23 April 2013.
Notice under Part 4 of the Determination
In light of the Minister’s direction, the ACMA has issued a notice under subsections 4.4(2) and 4.5(4) of Part 4 of the Determination.
Subsection 4.4(2) of the Determination requires the ACMA to publish a notice giving details of any changes to the (original) notice for the auction. Subsection 4.5(4) of Part 4 requires the ACMA to publish a notice giving details of changes to the Applicant Information Package (AIP), including changes to the auction guide.