NZ cellcos pick up 700-MHz 4G spectrum

NZ cellcos pick up 700-MHz 4G spectrum

Dylan Bushell-Embling  |   October 31, 2013
New Zealand's mobile network operators have paid a combined NZ$176 million ($145.3 million) for blocks of 700-MHz spectrum to use with their 4G networks.
The government managed to allocate all but one 2x5 MHz block of spectrum during an auction, the New Zealand Herald reported
Incumbent Telecom NZ and Vodafone will each pay NZ$66 million for three lots of 2x15 MHz spectrum. Smaller and newer operator 2degrees meanwhile secured two 2x10 MHz lots for NZ$44 million.
As winning bidders, operators will be required to upgrade their existing rural base stations to 4G. They also must continue to expand network coverage to meet the government's target of ensuring 90% of New Zealand's population has access to 4G within the next five years.
The government will now decide over the coming weeks what to do with the unsold block of spectrum – either letting the operators compete for it or retaining it for allocation at a later date.
The auction had a total reserve price - including the unsold block - of NZ$198 million. 2degrees had criticised this sum as being too high compared to the cost of clearing the “digital dividend” spectrum during the transition from analog to digital TV.
Dylan Bushell-Embling
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