New Zealand’s government is to reallocate wireless broadband spectrum in the 2.3GHz band via an auction to be held early next year. Up to eight 10MHz packets of frequencies will be offered, with another 16MHz block reserved as a ‘managed park’ for local and regional operations. No single company will be able to hold more than 30MHz in the 2.3GHz band to ensure adequate competition. Much of the 2.3GHz band, which is suitable for WiMAX applications, has already been allocated, but these rights expire in 2010. The government says existing licensees can either hang onto their spectrum until then, lease the rights to auction winners or bid in the auction themselves.
One current spectrum owner, Woosh Wireless, had appealed to the government to allow it to extend its concession, arguing that it would be able to launch WiMAX in the short term rather than waiting for a new spectrum owner to launch sometime after 2010. Communications Minister David Cunliffe also said that a strategy is being considered to free up spectrum in the 2.5GHz band, which is currently used by TV outside broadcasts, while it is also looking at creating a general user licence in the 5.4GHz range.