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Which side of the 4G fence are you on?

05 Sep 2013

Telecom has welcomed the government's timing, reserve price and some implementation conditions for the auction of New Zealand’s 700MHz “digital dividend” spectrum, announced yesterday.

Yet despite approval for Communications Minister Amy Adams' plans, fellow telco 2degrees disapproves, branding the auction expensive.

In an emailed message to BusinessDesk, CEO Stewart Sherriff said: "The spectrum's been priced at a premium to the $157 million cost of clearing the band, well ahead of Treasury's $119 million valuation and about double the price we paid recently for 15MHz of 1800MHz spectrum.

"That's beachfront spectrum, which we can use now."

Scheduled to start on 29 October 2013, this date will be confirmed after completion of the bidder registration process while the reserve price for each of the nine lots of 2x5MHz paired spectrum has been set at NZ$22million.

Telecom welcomes the allocation of this spectrum and intends to be a bidder in the forthcoming auction however.

"Telecom also welcomes the Government’s acknowledgement of the significant investment required by mobile network operators to build the 4G LTE infrastructure required to utilise this spectrum," a company statement said.

"The 700MHz band is an important resource if New Zealand is to make the most of 4G LTE technology, which will deliver significant benefits to New Zealanders in the shape of faster mobile broadband speeds and significant long-term economic benefit to the country.

"In particular, Telecom’s ongoing and historically strong commitment to rural New Zealand will be strengthened through the use of the 700 MHz spectrum, as it enables better economics of coverage in less populous areas.

"Although management rights for the spectrum will begin on 1 January 2014, deployment of this spectrum into Telecom’s 4G LTE network will depend on 700MHz handset availability from global handset manufacturers.

"Current indications are that suitable devices will start becoming available in mid to late calendar 2014 at the earliest."

Which side of the 4G fence are you on? Tell us your thoughts below