New Zealand Plans 700Mhz 4G License Auction Later This Year
New Zealand's Communications Minister Amy Adams has confirmed that it is the Government's intention to allocate the digital dividend radio spectrum in the third quarter of this year.
The allocation of the 700 MHz band of spectrum will allow the building of 4G networks using the spectrum freed up by the switchover to digital television, enabling mobile broadband speeds up to ten times faster than today's speeds.
The government has agreed that the spectrum will be allocated through an auction, and that the spectrum will be organised in blocks according to the Asia Pacific Telecommunity band plan. The exact design of the auction will be confirmed in the next few months following technical consultation, and the reserve price informed by independent expert advice.
The digital TV switchover is scheduled to finish on 1 December 2013. The Government intends new rights to the spectrum to commence in January 2014, but rights-holders may be able to negotiate early access to the spectrum.
The Government has already provided some temporary licences to enable mobile operators to test 700 MHz band services.
The Government has also confirmed that no specific allocation of 4G spectrum will be set aside for Maori stakeholders. Instead, the Government is investigating the establishment of a $30 million ICT development fund, focused on the way government can assist Maori leverage the potential benefits from new technologies, and promote and support the language and culture in a digital world.
"The Government recognises the importance of Maori having opportunities to participate in the ICT sector, however, in keeping with the view of successive governments that spectrum is not a taonga, in our view it does not follow that Ma-ori require further spectrum to be set aside in order to meet our shared objectives of the protection of language and culture."
The establishment and final form of the fund will be considered by Cabinet following the successful completion of the auction.
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