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Regulator clears Telecom 700MHz spectrum sale, assesses Chorus' 'Boost' plans

Having cleared the sale of the final block of digital dividend spectrum to Telecom, New Zealand's telecommunications regulator embarks on a study of network operator Chorus' new 'Boost' copper broadband plans.
Written by Rob O'Neill, Contributor

New Zealand telecommunications regulator the Commerce Commission has  cleared Telecom'sNZ$83 million purchase of a final lot of 700MHz spectrum to be used to deliver for 4G mobile services.

Telecom has been cleared to proceed with the purchase of the final 2x5MHz lot and to become the only mobile network operator with four lots of 700MHz spectrum.

Meanwhile, the Commission has released details of the process it will use to review network operator Chorus' new "Boost" fast broadband plans to ensure they are sufficiently different from the company's regulated products.

Telecom Chief Executive Simon Moutter said he was pleased the spectrum purchase has been cleared.

"This fourth lot will provide significant benefits to customers in terms of the potential speed and capacity of Telecom’s 4G mobile network." he said.

“The more of this 700MHz spectrum a carrier has, the faster the speeds it will be capable of offering and the more data it can carry. So this fourth lot puts Telecom in the best position in the market to deliver a very high-performance 4G mobile network for New Zealand, including in less densely populated areas."

Telecom has begun trialling its high speed 4G data network over APT700 MHz spectrum, alongside partner Huawei Technologies. 

Telecom bid $83 million for the final lot, in addition to $66 million for three lots in the initial auction round. Vodafone bought 2x15MHz (three lots), while 2Degrees bought 2x10 MHz (two lots).

A final assignment round, during which each successful bidder will bid for a location within the spectrum band, is still to be held.

The Commerce Commission has also released its process for assessing Chorus' new tiered copper broadband access plans, dubbed "Boost".

Chorus developed the new plans after the Commission regulated deep cuts to the wholesale price the company could charge for its regulated services and submitted the plans to the regulator on 14 May.

The Commission is now required to assess whether the proposed services are materially different from regulated copper services and can be priced separately.

The Commission said it expects to consult on a draft decision in late June and to release a final decision in late July.

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