New uses for spectrum could provide $2.4bn in economic benefits

Government releases draft paper on spectrum management

The allocation of the 700MHz spectrum band for new mobile services could bring economic benefits of up to $2.4 billion over 20 years.

That’s according to a report prepared for the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) by Venture Consulting. It suggests that allocating the 700MHz band for new services such as LTE could bring economic benefits in the order of $1.1 billion to $2.4 billion over 20 years, when compared with the use of higher frequency bands for those services.

Mobile network operators currently hold spectrum in the 850MHz, 900MHz, 1800MHz, 2100MHz, 2300MHz, 2500MHz, and 3500MHz bands. A decision on how the 700MHz spectrum is to be allocated has been delayed by the government until next year.

The Venture Consulting report is referenced in a draft paper by MBIE on how spectrum rights are technically defined. The paper is part of a major review of the Radiocommunications Act, the first in 15 years.

In the draft paper MBIE says it wants to examine aspects of the Act, including the way that interference and rights are managed, as well as the prevention of anti-competitive behaviour.

It proposes to simplify spectrum management by creating all future administrative radio licences in a technical and administrative format that is nearly indistinguishable from spectrum licences.

“There may also be some benefit in converting some sets of spectrum licences in the Crown management rights into private management rights,” the paper says.

The ministry, which says it is expecting “profound” technological change over the next five years, is seeking comments on the document by September 20.

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