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New Zealand To Launch 3.5 GHz Spectrum Auction In February

New Zealand’s Radio Spectrum Management (RSM) has announced that spectrum rights will be allocated as national management rights for a term beginning mid-2020 until 31 October 2022. A simplified Combinatorial Clock Auction process will be used comprising up to three phases, including clock phase, supplementary phase and placement phase. Spectrum will be allocated in 10 MHz lot sizes with a minimum bid of two lots per registered bidder. There will be a total of 16 lots available covering the frequency range from 3.59 to 3.75 GHz. Bidder registration for the auction is expected to open on 24 February.

The reserve price has been set at NZD 250,000 per lot. To be eligible to participate, interested parties will have to pay a deposit of NZD 500,000. An initial acquisition limit will be set at four lots (40 MHz) per registered bidder. The acquisition limit may be raised in the supplementary phase of the auction if lots go unsold in the clock phase.

RSM also reports that winning bidders will have to use 3.5 GHz rights to implement international (3GPP) 5G standards and synchronise with other users of the early access management rights. Successful bidders will be required to return to the state existing management rights they hold elsewhere in the 3.5 GHz band.

New Zealand’s Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media Minister Kris Faafoi earlier confirmed Cabinet approval for the allocation of short-term rights to an unused portion of 3.5 GHz spectrum. This is the first spectrum band to be allocated for 5G data services. The government believes early access to this spectrum “will allow the telecommunications industry to move forward in their development and deployment of 5G services now, rather than waiting until long-term rights are switched on in November 2022″. Spark already announced it plans to participate in the auction. Spark says access to sufficient spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band will allow it to bring mass-market 5G services to more New Zealanders as soon as possible. Spark expects this short-term allocation process to allow it to launch mass deployment of 5G services as planned from mid-2020.―Telecompaper

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