Govt: Radio spectrum auction completed

Communications and Information Technology Minister Amy Adams has confirmed the auction of the 700 MHz band of radio spectrum has now been completed, with specific frequencies assigned to successful bidders Telecom, Vodafone and 2degrees.

The assignment auction was the final phase of the auction, held to determine the exact positions (frequencies) that each bidder will acquire in the 700 MHz band.

While Telecom has acquired the largest portion of the spectrum, as a result of this assignment, 2degrees and Vodafone will occupy adjacent frequencies.

According to Adams, this preserves for them the ability, if they so choose, to negotiate a 4G roaming agreement.

The government has raised an additional $11.1 million in the assignment round, bringing total auction revenue to $270 million – the direct cost of clearing the spectrum was $147 million.

“All three mobile network operators can now start building their 4G networks using this spectrum,” Adams says.

“This successful auction means consumers will have a choice of three nationwide mobile providers for 4G services, which are capable of mobile data speeds up to ten times faster than 3G networks.

“In addition, 90 per cent of New Zealanders will gain access to fast 4G services in the next five years, and 75 new towers will be built to increase mobile coverage.”

Under the conditions of the auction, Vodafone and Telecom are required to build five and ten new towers each year respectively, for five years, in areas to which they do not currently provide coverage.

Telecom, Vodafone and 2degrees are required to upgrade 75 per cent of their existing rural cell towers to 4G within five years.

The economic benefits of enabling the spectrum to be used for 4G mobile services have been estimated at up to $2.4 billion over 10 years.

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