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NBN's 5G play kicks off industry debate

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Amid calls by Labor for the federal government to explain the National Broadband Network (NBN) company's "intentions with 5G", Australian telco entrepreneur Bevan Slattery has spoken positively of NBN's opportunity to provide a wholesale mobile service.

"I think there's a great opportunity for NBN Co to really provide an amazing alternate provider for wholesale wireless in the 4G, 5G space with their wireless technology, they've got fibre [backhaul]," Slattery said at the CommsDay Summit in Sydney on Tuesday.

"I think it's a great opportunity for NBN Co to actually not just do fixed line and kind of fixed-wireless; I think what are the opportunities for them to provide a virtual MVNO product or an MVNO product for other carriers.

"It will happen in the next five years, and it will need to do that because 5G will absolutely eat its lunch if it doesn't."

Slattery pointed out that NBN has "a lot of spectrum to do that", with Vodafone Australia chief strategy officer Dan Lloyd using his own speech on Tuesday to argue against the amount of 5G spectrum NBN holds.

Echoing comments published last week in Vodafone's submission to the joint standing committee's inquiry into the NBN business case[1], Lloyd said there has been a "worrying trend of different pricing for spectrum for different players, particularly NBN".

"NBN now holds a very significant amount of spectrum, which is some of the only internationally aligned 5G spectrum that's likely to be available in the next few years," he pointed out.

"I don't propose a specific answer to that, but that is a very significant question if NBN is going to continue to hold very significant amounts of 5G mobile spectrum, including

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