The New Zealand government has approved plans to allocate short-term rights to 160MHz of unused frequencies in the 3.5GHz band to mobile network operators and the Maori community next year, reports ZDNet. Telecoms minister Kris Faafoi confirmed an auction will be held for the available spectrum from the middle of next year, with the rights running until 31 October 2022, by which time plans for a longer-term allocation of the spectrum will have been finalised. ‘Early access to this spectrum will allow the telecommunications industry to move forward in their development and deployment of 5G services now, rather than waiting until long-term rights are switched on in November 2022,’ noted the minister.
The government confirmed there will be a limit on the amount of spectrum operators can purchase and that it will be subject to minimum use terms. There will also be no guarantee that short-term rights will provide long-term access. Short-term allocation of spectrum will be made to the Maori community, and a support programme to build Maori capability in spectrum-related industries will be developed to maximise the benefits of this opportunity. Further details of the short-term allocation will be released early next year.