The long-term rights to the 3.5 GHz spectrum band for 5G services will come into effect on July 1, 2023
The government of New Zealand said it has signed contracts with local carriers Spark, 2Degrees and One New Zealand to accelerate the roll-out of 5G services to small towns across New Zealand and improve rural connectivity.
The government said that the country’s three mobile network operators each received 80 megahertz of spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band, which according to the authorities, is sufficient radio spectrum for all three companies to operate nationwide 5G networks.
The government also confirmed that Dense Air New Zealand, which had been in negotiations for long-term spectrum rights, has decided to withdraw from the process.
“In return for the allocated spectrum, Spark, One New Zealand and 2Degrees will each pay the government NZD24 million ($15.2 million) between 2023 and 2025. This funding will be used to pay the Rural Connectivity Group to expand mobile coverage into areas of rural New Zealand which would not otherwise have been provided with coverage commercially.| the government said.
The government added that this funding is additional to the value of the works required to accelerate the provision of 5G to towns across New Zealand.
New Zealand’s Minister for the Digital Economy and Communications, Ginny Andersen, also announced that the Interim Maori Spectrum Commission will be assigned 100 megahertz of spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band, which it will manage on behalf of the Maori community.
“The government is committed to ensuring that everyone in New Zealand can get access to good mobile wireless coverage –no matter where you are,” said Andersen, who added the agreement will see the operator’s roll out 5G services to around 55 rural and regional towns across New Zealand.
“As part of this new agreement, our three major mobile network operators must increase the pace of the 5G roll-out to small towns across New Zealand and continue their efforts to further expand mobile wireless coverage in rural areas,” the official added.
The long-term rights to the 3.5 GHz spectrum band for 5G services will come into effect on July 1, 2023, following the expiration of the short-term rights granted in October 2022.