Telstra has been barred from buying any more 700 MHz spectrum for its 4G network at an auction next year, after the government heeded advice from the competition watchdog.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)'s advice to Communications Minister Mitch Fifield was that mobile users would be better served if the remaining spectrum was bought by Optus, Vodafone or TPG.
It said this could be enforced by setting a limit on the amount of 700 MHz spectrum any one carrier is able to hold to 2x20 MHz – the amount Telstra bought in the original 2013 auction.
Fifield said in a statement he had agreed to the allocation limit.
"This means that no mobile network operator can own more than two 20 MHz blocks of spectrum in the 700 MHz band, ensuring that the auction promotes competition and that the spectrum is allocated in the long‑term interests of end-users," he said in a statement.
A Telstra spokesperson criticised the move as "an unnecessary restriction, without any evidence of a problem to justify it".