UK-based Vodafone Group has announced that its Vodafone New Zealand unit has entered into an agreement to acquire TelstraClear, the New Zealand fixed line business of Australia’s Telstra for a cash consideration of NZD840 million (USD668.7 million). Vodafone is the country’s largest mobile operator by subscribers with a 45.8% share of the wireless market at end-March 2012, whilst TelstraClear is the second largest fixed operator in New Zealand. Its prime assets include a hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) network in Wellington, Kapiti and Christchurch, and a 6,600km fibre backbone connecting 19 of the country’s largest cities. TelstraClear also possesses potentially valuable spectrum in the 1900MHz and 2100MHz frequency bands, which could conceivably be used for the deployment of Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology. TelstraClear was awarded the 3G spectrum in February 2001, only to sideline its rollout plans in favour of a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) deal with Vodafone. Subject to approval from regulatory authority the Commerce Commission, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the Overseas Investment Office, the transaction is expected to complete in 4Q12.
Vittorio Colao, CEO of the Vodafone Group, commented: ‘The proposed transaction offers significant benefits for New Zealand businesses, consumers and the country as a whole. TelstraClear’s infrastructure and capabilities are highly complementary to those of Vodafone New Zealand. The combined business will have the breadth and depth of resources and skills to meet our customers’ long-term integrated communications needs.’