New rules should mean smoother auction sailing

The Ministry of Economic Development has tweaked the rules for its next spectrum auction to avoid the lengthy delays inherent in the third generation 2 GHz spectrum auction.

The Ministry of Economic Development (MED) has tweaked the rules for its next spectrum auction to avoid the lengthy delays inherent in the third generation (3G) 2 GHz spectrum auction.

Auction manager David Kershaw says splitting the auction into four smaller parts should mean an overall conclusion is reached far more quickly.

"In effect we're running four smaller auctions with separate schedules so any of them can conclude at any time."

The 2 GHz spectrum auction ran for seven months as companies bid and withdrew bids for different lots. Rules were tightened as the auction progressed, and the lessons learned in that auction are to be applied to this one.

"The auction will be over after one clear round rather than two which means in effect the whole auction could be over very quickly." Kershaw says the MED has also looked at the issue of withdrawing from a bid.

"We decided to allow bidders to withdraw but have limited the number of withdrawals in any schedule. After the third withdrawal the company can no longer bid in that schedule." Bidders are also encouraged to make bids rather than sitting on the sidelines.

"They are required to be active so if they're not the current highest bidder in a schedule they've got to bid within two rounds or we will decline to take further bids from them in that schedule."

At this stage only nine companies have registered as bidders including Vodafone, TelstraClear and Walker Wireless. Telecom has not registered to bid as IDGNet went to press.

The MED auction site will be updated daily during the auction and Kershaw says he hopes to include additional information, such as which companies have withdrawn or not bid, although that isn't finalised at this stage.

"That sort of thing would be of interest to bidders and observers I think."

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