Government locks in spectrum auction for December

Acquisition limit set a 40MHz per bidder

The Government will go ahead with a planned auction of 2.3GHz and 2.5GHz spectrum in December.

Communications and Information Technology Minister David Cunliffe says after decisions at the World Radio Assembly and consideration of public feedback, Cabinet has agreed to a final auction design for the bands.

“The auction design strikes the best balance between providing plentiful spectrum for WiMax and potential next generation cellular uses," he said today in a statement.

“Early deployment of broadband wireless is an important part of the Government’s Digital Strategy. Nationwide spectrum blocks will be subject to acquisition limits, association rules, and implementation requirements to ensure that true competition is facilitated.”

The auction design includes four nationwide blocks, suitable for WiMax operators which, in combination with the managed spectrum park, allows for six or more service providers in an area, the statement says.

There will be four further nationwide blocks, suitable for either advanced mobile cellular services (that is, paired spectrum), or additional WiMax-type use, depending on which is considered to be the higher value use through the auction process.

The auction will have an acquisition limit per bidder of 40MHz (including guardbands) and include a managed spectrum park for regional and local users with a total of 45MHz of spectrum (which allows for two or three local WiMax providers).

Opportunities for Maori to participate in the knowledge economy through a nationwide spectrum block which will be held for a non-contestable allocation at a fixed price to a Māori representative group, as determined by the Minister of Māori Affairs.

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