October 17, 2013
Spectrum auction an opportunity lost
A telecommunications investor says the auction of 700 megahertz spectrum will consign New Zealand consumers to another generation of high phone prices and monopolistic service.
Ted Edwards of KLR International, who was one of the founding shareholders of Two Degrees along with Te Huarahi Tika Maori spectrum trust, has protested to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, which it is conducting the auction.
He says analysis of the mobile phone market by the regulator was seriously flawed, meaning the market power that existed because one company had a monopoly of 900 megahertz GSM spectrum will be carried over into the next generation of mobile data networks.
"A spectrum auction is a once in a generation opportunity to do a substantial health check on the status of the mobile and wireless market. What we've seen happen here in New Zealand is we have not seen satisfactory analysis of the current structure of the market to enable that health check to take place, and so what's tragic for the kiwi consumer is that they're not going to benefit long term from the market that will work for them in the 700 megahertz spectrum," he says.
Tex Edwards says KLR registered its protest by registering and then withdrawing from the auction.
Maori spectrum claimants have been excluded from the auction, with the Government saying it may instead create a $30 million fund to promote Maori use of information and communications technology.
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