Spectrum rights renewed in 3G and 4G bands

  • Hon Kris Faafoi
Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media

Spectrum rights in the 2100 MHz and 1800 MHz bands will mostly be renewed to ensure mobile network operators can continue to provide 3G and 4G phone services, although some spectrum will be released for other uses, Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media Kris Faafoi says.

“Spectrum is a limited resource and the rights to use spectrum in these two bands only come up for renewal every 20 years. When it comes to considering the next round of spectrum management rights, it’s important we strike the right balance to ensure spectrum is used efficiently to benefit all New Zealanders,” Kris Faafoi says.

Cabinet has agreed to renew rights for most of the spectrum in these bands to current holders Spark, Vodafone and 2degrees when their rights expire in 2021. The renewal offers for the three mobile network operators will be for 40 MHz each in the 1800 MHz band and their existing holdings in the 2100 MHz band.

Hautaki Limited, part of a charitable trust dedicated to boosting Māori participation in the ICT sector, will be offered full renewal of its existing 2100 MHz rights. Telstra’s rights in the 2100 MHz band are not currently being used and will not be renewed.

“The spectrum rights offered to the three mobile network operators and Hautaki will be renewed for the full 20-year period. This ensures they have maximum certainty about access to spectrum as they continue to provide 3G and 4G phone services.

“Cellular technology is constantly evolving however, so we need to have some spectrum in reserve to remain flexible to change. The 40 MHz that’s been freed up from these partial renewals might be used for new technologies or by the new emergency services network that is currently being considered,” Kris Faafoi said.

  1800 MHz band   2100 MHz band  
  Current rights Renewal offer Current rights Renewal offer
2degrees 50 MHz 40 MHz - -
Hautaki Limited - - 30 MHz 30 MHz
Spark 50 MHz 40 MHz 30 MHz 30 MHz
Telstra - - 10 MHz 0 MHz
Vodafone 50 MHz 40 MHz 50 MHz 50 MHz