New Zealand mobile start-up NZ Communications (Econet Wireless NZ) has signed its second major deal in as many days, inking a contract to buy a chunk of radio spectrum from Telecom New Zealand. According to the New Zealand Herald, the newcomer has struck a deal to acquire a 5MHz block of spectrum from Telecom, suitable for the provision of mobile services. The announcement comes a day after NZ Communications announced it had signed a national roaming agreement with Vodafone New Zealand enabling future customers to get coverage in areas where it has no mobile network of its own. NZ Communications plan to launch a third mobile network, beginning in the three main urban centres of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, the paper said.
Last week, the government of New Zealand offered Telecom and Vodafone the option of renewing their 800MHz and 900MHz spectrum licences for another 20 years, on condition that they offered at least 5MHz of spectrum to an aspiring mobile operator within six months. The government said telecoms companies would have to pay NZD3.8 million (USD2.9 million) per MHz to renew their licence, but in exchange, would be eligible to apply for an additional 7.5MHz block. If either failed to agree to the terms however, the 7.5MHz block would be auctioned off, it said. The two operator’s licences were due to have expired between 2011 and 2012.