RSM releases more details of 3.5 GHz auction

By Jonathan Nally
Tuesday, 14 January, 2020

RSM releases more details of 3.5 GHz auction

New Zealand’s Radio Spectrum Management (RSM) has released parameters for the auction of short-term rights to 3.5 GHz spectrum for 5G services.

In mid-December 2019, the New Zealand Government gave the go-ahead to enable further development of 5G networks by making suitable spectrum available.

To that end, Cabinet approved the allocation of short-term rights to an unused portion of 3.5 GHz spectrum, including provision for an opportunity for Māori interests in radio spectrum.

Those short-term rights will run from mid-2020 to 31 October 2022.

RSM has now confirmed the following auction parameters:

  • Spectrum rights will be allocated as national management rights for a term beginning mid-2020 until 31 October 2022.
  • A simplified Combinatorial Clock Auction process will be used comprising up to three phases: clock phase, supplementary phase and placement phase.
  • Spectrum will be allocated in 10 MHz lot sizes with a minimum bid of two lots per registered bidder. There will be a total of16 lots available covering the frequency range from 3.59 to 3.75 GHz.
  • The reserve price will be set at NZ$250,000 (excl GST) per lot.
  • To be eligible to participate, interested parties will be required to register and pay a deposit of NZ$500,000.
  • An initial acquisition limit will be set at four lots (40 MHz) to any one registered bidder. The acquisition limit may be raised in the supplementary phase of the auction if lots go unsold in the clock phase.
  • Winning bidders must use 3.5 GHz rights to implement international (3GPP) 5G standards and synchronise with other users of the early access management rights.
  • Rights purchased at auction will not be able to be traded without the approval of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) for the duration of the management rights.
  • Successful bidders will be required to return to the Crown existing management rights they hold elsewhere in the 3.5 GHz band. A discount from the purchase price will be applied if spectrum is returned, based on the price per MHz rate of the winning bid.

Bidder registration for the auction is expected to open in the week beginning 24 February 2020.

Long-term rights to 3.5 GHz spectrum are on track to begin in November 2022, with details of those allocations still in development.

Image credit: © Panaite

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