Vodafone New Zealand chief Graham Maher says it is irrelevant just how much any company spent on spectrum in 3G auctions around the world.
“In some countries it was expensive, in others it was cheap - at the end of the day there are business cases for both countries having to launch services quickly so it’s irrelevant how much they paid for it.”
In New Zealand the entire 3G spectrum auction brought in around $133 million while in Britain billions of pounds was spent. Questions have been asked about whether companies in Britain can now afford to roll out networks, even though the licences they have bought demand a certain level of coverage by 2007. The opposite can be said of New Zealand - with spectrum costing so little cellphone companies were expected to rush to 3G services because they could afford to.
Maher says he expects New Zealand to be at the forefront of 3G rollout worldwide for a number of reasons not associated with the auction - not least of these is Vodafone’s positioning of New Zealand as a “centre of excellence”.
“We’ve already got a GPRS network in place and have done since October so we’ve got six months’ worth of experience on GPRS already. That gives us a leg-up on 3G in the future as well.” Maher says he has no problem convincing Vodafone’s parent company that New Zealand needs a high priority for either GPRS or 3G services and support.
“We’re a mature market and a sophisticated one so that’s never been a problem for us.”