The Radiocommunications Act 1989 heralded a new era for the management of the radio spectrum in New Zealand. This Act enabled the creation of property rights for spectrum and also the use of market driven allocation mechanisms for the distribution of the newly created rights.
The Act does not specific any particular allocation mechanism. Radio spectrum was initially sold using second price then first price tender systems, however in 1996 an Internet based computer system was developed for the sale of spectrum by auction.
Simultaneous ascending auctions
The auction process currently used by the Ministry is a simultaneous ascending auction. This type of auction involves making all lots available for bidding at the same time. The auction takes place over a number of rounds of a specific duration (say 30 minutes), until no further bidding takes place on the lots being offered.
This type of auction allows bidders who wish to purchase specific combination of lots to take a part in the auction. Advantages of this type of auction are that bidders obtain full market information and are able to determine their level of success on any combination of lots at any time during the auction.
In developing the auction mechanism, the Ministry contracted a private company to help develop software that would allow the operation of radio spectrum auctions over the Internet.
Use of the Internet allows bidders to purchase radio spectrum from their own offices using current web browser technology.
Spectrum auction design in New Zealand
The Ministry has produced the report Spectrum Auction Design in New Zealand. The report outlines how New Zealand has competitively allocated radio spectrum, factors pertinent to auction design and alternative options for competitive allocation. The Ministry will take into account the findings of the report when designing future auctions.
Further information and enquiries
Manager Radio Spectrum Planning
Tel: +64 4 462 4221
Auction 11 was held on Tuesday 31 March 2009.
MED intends to re-auction a local commercial FM licence with Christchurch coverage. Auction 10a will be held on Thursday 30 October 2008
On Monday 21 April 2008, Broadcasting Minister Trevor Mallard and Communications and Information Technology Minister David Cunliffe announced an auction for additional television, AM and FM broadcasting licences.
In December 2001 Cabinet agreed that the Crown should create and retain rights for two 3.5 GHz blocks suitable for fixed wireless access use.
Auction 7 was conducted on 8 October relating to three spectrum licences suitable for VHF-FM broadcasting in the Waihi area.
On 23 September 2003 Broadcasting Minister Steve Maharey and Associate Communications Minister David Cunliffe announced an auction for additional television, AM and FM broadcasting licences. The auction commenced on 18 November 2003.
Closed tender - December 2002/January 2003, Auction 5 - July/August 2002, Auction 4 - November/December 1998, Auction 3 - July 2000/February 2001,Auction 2 - January/February 1998, Auction 1 - September 1996.
This report outlines how New Zealand has competitively allocated radio spectrum, factors pertinent to auction design and alternative options for competitive allocation. The Ministry will take into account the findings of the report when designing future auctions.
Link to the Economic Development Group, Register of Radio Frequencies, Companies Office, Commerce Commission.
Information on implementation and offers on Expiry of Rights.
This Bidder's manual has been prepared to assist bidders participating in an “electronic auction” held by the Ministry of Economic Development via the internet.