Vodafone New Zealand, Telecom Mobile and 2degrees have been confirmed as the only participants in New Zealand’s so-called ‘digital dividend’ spectrum auction, which will take place later this month, with a reserve price of NZD198 million (USD166.5 million). Previous radio spectrum auctions have attracted smaller bidders and overseas speculators, but the stipulation of a NZD5 million deposit has kept the field tight.
2degrees co-founder Tex Edwards, who is no longer an employee of the company, had registered to bid in the auction, but delivered stale loaves of bread and old SIM cards to the offices of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment in lieu of the cash deposit. The stunt, he claimed, was in protest at what he described as ‘poor public policy management’ of the auction. However, a ministry spokesman indicated that Edwards ‘verbally withdrew his application before registration closed’.