In its submission on the 700MHz spectrum auction Tuanz warns of a return to the duopoly that dominated New Zealand mobile telecommunications before 2degrees started operation. Tuanz says that would stifle mobile competition, which has only recently taken off.
Tuanz fears only Telecom and Vodafone can afford the 4G spectrum made available by closing analogue TV broadcasting.
2degrees already has 4G spectrum, it picked up some when Telstra-Clear tidied its holdings to clear regulatory hurdles to Vodafone’s acquisition. Still, 2degrees needs more to stay competitive.
45MHZ for sale
A total of 45MHz is for sale. If the government caps holdings at 20Mhz, that means the two big players could grab almost all the frequencies leaving only crumbs for a third mobile carrier.
The third mobile carrier may not be 2degrees, at least two other players have said they are considering buying spectrum. There could be more waiting in the wings.
Spectrum price concerns
Tuanz is also concerned the government may ask too much for the 700Mz spectrum. It points to the Australian auction which saw a high price limit the competition for the available spectrum. The organisation says a lower spectrum price would leave carriers with money to invest in a quick network build.
You can see the Telecommunications User Group’s submission on the auction for yourself online at Why we can’t let two players dominate the 700MHz spectrum auction.