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Digital dividend: Planning for new uses of the 700 MHz band

Digital dividend auction announced

The government has announced plans to auction the ‘digital dividend’ 700 MHz radio spectrum later this year. The 700 MHz band is the spectrum freed up by the switchover to digital television.

The government has announced that:

  • The 700 MHz band will be allocated by competitive auction, as management rights commencing 1 January 2014 and expiring 28 November 2031;
  • New Zealand will adopt the ‘APT Band Plan’ for the 700 MHz band, consisting of 45 MHz paired. This will be subdivided into 9 blocks for allocation, each consisting of 5 MHz paired;
  • The auction will be subject to acquisition limits (or ‘spectrum caps’) of 2x15 MHz, which may be relaxed to 2x20 MHz during the auction depending on demand;
  • Successful bidders will be subject to both implementation requirements for spectrum purchased and a broader obligation to extend mobile cellular coverage
  • The detailed auction format, rules, and implementation requirements will be the subject of a further consultation round.

The detailed decisions following consultation have been delegated to a subcommittee of ministers, comprising the Minister of Finance, Economic Development, and Communications and Information Technology.


Further information: 

Read the announcement by the Minister for Communications and Information Technology.


Next steps

A consultation document on detailed auction design has been released, and is open for consultation until 14 June. View the auction consultation page.

Following this, the subcommittee of ministers will finalise decisions on the date of the auction, the form of the implementation requirements, and the detailed auction rules.

These will be published as soon as they are available, effectively commencing the auction process. 

The auction is currently expected to be held in the third quarter of 2013.


Last updated 14 September 2013