The auction of 2.3GHz spectrum, scheduled for May, has been postponed until December and combined with an auction for 2.5GHz spectrum, Communications Minister David Cunliffe announced today.
The spectrum is suitable for broadband wireless services such as WiMAX.
The announcement appears to confirm media reports that Woosh Wireless, which held much of the bandwidth to be auctioned until the Government decided to redistribute it, has threatened it will seek a judicial review if the auction goes ahead
"The delay to the 2.3 GHz auction is not expected to slow broadband wireless deployment," Cunliffe says. "The World Radio Conference in October-November is expected to provide greater certainty of technology trends, which will help inform bidders."
The Government says a combined auction will make more spectrum available for broadband wireless and other uses. The original 2.3GHz auction was expected to allow for two to three nationwide providers and a small managed park of 15MHz for use by regional providers.
"The new auction can allow for up to six nationwide users and a generous managed park of at least 30 MHz and potentially up to or exceeding 50 MHz," Cunliffe says. "This will ensure plenty of space for smaller and regional providers, including those with a focus on delivering services to Maori."
The Government will release a discussion paper on the design of a combined auction by August.