The Ministry of Economic Development is to put in place three changes to speed up the 2GHz auction.
It will have four rounds each day, rather than two. The minimum size of each bid will be increased, and rather than incremental 5% increases across the board, the auction manager says the second-generation (2G) management rights section of the auction will be moved to 10% increases. Spectrum licence bids must be 50% greater each time.
Major bidders are of the opinion this is a good idea.
“I think the auction has been dragging on a bit and it would be good to see things wrapped up soon,” says Telecom spokesperson Linda Sanders.
“We support it wholeheartedly,” says Walker Wireless chief executive Paul Ryan. Walker Wireless has bid for lots in the 2G auction and is bidding in the 1098 management rights area.
“We think they’re all good ideas and we’re in favour of it,” says Telstra Saturn spokesman Quentin Bright.
Vodafone would go one step further and do away with the requirement to have two clear rounds to signal the end of the auction.
“Having two clear rounds of bidding and treating the withdrawal of a bid as activity are still slowing the process down,” says managing director John Rohan. He would like to see only one clear round needed to end the auction and would treat the withdrawal of a bid as “no activity”.
Ihug director Nick Wood says the process is immaterial. “Look, if they change it that’s fine and if they leave it like it is, that’s fine as well.”
Clear Communications spokesman Ross Inglis declined to comment specifically on the auction, saying it would be inappropriate as Clear isn’t bidding. “We’ve said we would work with a mobile provider in partnership — its up to the mobile network providers to do the bidding.”
The ministry is still considering the submissions it has received and will make an announcement shortly.