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Conroy's spectrum threat defies logic.

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Wed, 16th September 2009


Senator the Hon Nick Minchin

Shadow Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy

Leader of the Opposition in the Senate

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy was today unable to explain the rationale for stopping Telstra from

acquiring additional spectrum for advanced wireless broadband when its competitors in the wireless market have

the majority of that market’s share, Shadow Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy

Senator Nick Minchin said.

Senator Minchin also asked the Minister what the Government’s estimate of the loss to taxpayers would be as a

result of the reduction in the value of spectrum resulting from the exclusion of Telstra from planned future

spectrum auctions.

Senator Conroy dismissed the question as “entirely hypothetical” and based on a flawed premise.

Senator Minchin said the questions asked were both important and relevant and there was nothing hypothetical

about them.

“The Bill introduced into this Parliament by the Rudd Government contains the clear provision to prevent Telstra

from acquiring. This is stated in black and white and is one of the biggest threats the Government is making

against the company,” Senator Minchin said.

“Any move by the Government to deprive a business of competing in a market where its competitors have the

majority of the market share defies logic. Senator Conroy was unable to provide any explanation as to the

rationale behind this proposed measure.

“Nor was he able to say how much taxpayers would lose through spectrum auctions if Telstra was prevented

from participating. This either shows how ill-conceived this proposed measure is, or that the Government doesn’t

even care about the cost to taxpayers.

“Senator Conroy simply could not explain how this measure could possibly increase competition in the mobile

sector and most importantly deliver better outcomes and new services for consumers,” Senator Minchin said.