Australia's TPG Telecom shakes up 4G market with new $1.4 bln network

Byron Kaye and Tom Westbrook

* TPG pays Australian government A$1.3 bln for 4G spectrum

* Says it will spend another A$600 mln building a network

* Takes on Telstra, SingTel, Vodafone, which have networks

* Telstra shares down 7 pct

(Recasts throughout, updates shares, adds analyst comment)

SYDNEY, April 12 (Reuters) - TPG Telecom up-ended

Australia's 4G mobile market on Wednesday by buying spectrum and

announcing plans to build a $1.4 billion network to rival

Singapore Telecommunications, Telstra Corp

and Vodafone Group.

The low-cost internet provider which is 34 percent-owned by

Malaysia-born David Teoh was an outsider winner at a government

auction of 700 MHz spectrum, freed up since the country's

television stations went digital.

It was the only bidder without an existing 4G network, and

won two 10-MHz spectrum bands with a A$1.26 billion ($944

million) bid. It said it would spend another A$600 million

building a 4G network to reach 80 percent of the population.

The move promises to shake up Australia's 4G mobile market,

currently dominated by network owners Telstra, which has 39

percent of contracts, followed by SingTel's Optus and Vodafone.

Mobile has overtaken Telstra's declining fixed-line business to

become its biggest earner.

Telstra shares were down 7.5 percent by mid-session, in a

flat overall market, their biggest intraday fall since 2010 as

investors worried that a new cut-price rival would hurt


"Margins in the mobile market are going to be squeezed,"

said Paul Budde, of telecoms consultancy Paul Budde


"That has a major effect on Telstra because they still are

the one with the best margins in the wireless market."

SingTel shares fell as much as 2.6 percent, while Vodafone's

London-listed shares were untraded because the market was


In the auction, Vodafone, which co-owns its Australian

business with Hong Kong's CK Hutchison Holdings,

picked up two 5-MHz bands for A$286 million, enabling it to add

to its network.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority, which ran

the auction, said the total proceeds of more than A$1.5 billion

beat the A$857 million reserve.

Telstra was excluded on the grounds that it already had too

much spectrum.

A Telstra spokesman said the auction showed Australia had a

"strong and competitive mobile market under the current

regulatory settings".

($1 = 1.3342 Australian dollars)

(Reporting by Byron Kaye; Editing by Stephen Coates)