f5-nz logo
Story image

Is NZ getting a fourth mobile carrier?

31 Oct 2011

Competition in the New Zealand mobile phone market could be about to get even stiffer, with the head of a UK-based telco stating his plans for his company's NZ subsidiary to bid in the 700MHz spectrum auction to take place in the next two years.

Harpal Mann, founder and CEO of Clear Mobitel, told Communications Day his company plans to build an LTE network within the spectrum, having missed out on an opportunity to do the same within the 2500MHz spectrum that was auctioned under the previous Labour government.

Indeed, Clear Mobitel’s submission to the Ministry of Economic Development regarding the 700MHz auction states the company’s frustration in no uncertain terms.

"The MED should not allot a repeat of the circumstances that occurred following the release of the 2500MHz band to occur again in the market,” the submission reads.

"It is a travesty that all licensees who were awarded the 2500MHz spectrum have not done anything constructive with it to the benefit of the citizens of New Zealand, who are the ultimate owners of the spectrum.”

The 700MHz spectrum band will be freed up in 2013 when New Zealand switches to digital television. The Ministry of Economic Development sought submissions in August on how best to auction off the spectrum; you can read the resulting submissions here.

Image: Google Earth screenshot.