As expected Telecom NZ publicly confirmed it will be bidding in the 700 MHz spectrum action. The auction is scheduled to start at the end of this month.
In a statement to the NZX CEO Simon Moutter says:
In order to encourage rapid development of 4G services and deliver the greatest benefit to consumers and the broader New Zealand economy we believe the auction process should aim to deliver an outcome that assists investment in a rapid and extensive rollout of 4G network services.
Interest is likely to be high. The 700 MHz band is prime real estate for mobile carriers. It is the most suitable spectrum for next generation mobile data services and is particularly well-suited to less densely populated areas – read that as “most of New Zealand”.
The spectrum becomes free as the analogue television network moves to digital transmission.
Most 4G services currently on offer in New Zealand use the 1800 MHz band. As Moutter explains:
…1800 MHz spectrum is not particularly well suited for use outside major urban areas. In less densely populated areas, the broader coverage range of lower frequency spectrum enables a 4G network to be built with less cell site infrastructure, significantly improving the network economics.
Telecom NZ says it wants to use the 700 MHz spectrum as the 4G network backbone.