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Telstra’s A$11 Billion Network Split Backed by Regulator

Feb. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Telstra Corp, Australia’s biggest phone company, gained antitrust approval to split from its fixed-line assets, clearing the way for an A$11 billion ($12 billion) compensation package from the government.

The regulator accepted the so-called structural separation plan after Telstra gave rivals improved access and prices to its copper-wire network, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission said in a regulatory statement today.

Telstra shareholders last year agreed to give up control of the Melbourne-based company’s copper wires, the only existing national network, to the government-backed NBN Co., which is building a fiber platform. Telstra will set prices for rivals based on the regulator’s proposal during the transition to the new National Broadband Network.

“The ACCC’s acceptance of Telstra’s undertaking marks a significant milestone in the structural reform of the telecommunications sector,” Chairman Rod Sims said in the statement.

Telstra’s copper network is a legacy of its former status as a state-owned monopoly company. The carrier accounted for about three-quarters of the country’s fixed phone lines and about 45 percent of its mobile phone and fixed-line consumer broadband markets, the regulator said.

To contact the reporter on this story: David Fickling in Sydney at dfickling@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Neil Denslow at ndenslow@bloomberg.net

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