Auction 20

Auction 20 was not completed due to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, a direct allocation process will be undertaken.

Auction 20 postponement and cancellation

The auction was due to commence in March 2020. However it was postponed and subsequently cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Short-term management rights in 3.5 GHz band for 5G

In December 2019 the Government approved the allocation, via auction, of short-term rights to an unused portion of the 3.5 GHz band (3 590 – 3 750 MHz). These rights were to be allocated as national management rights for a term beginning mid-2020 until 31 October 2022.

The 3.5 GHz band is the first spectrum band to be allocated for 5G services.

Conditions that were announced at that time included:

  • Spectrum rights will be allocated as national management rights for a term beginning mid-2020 until 31 October 2022.
  • A simplified Combinatorial Clock Auction process to  be used comprising up to three phases: clock phase, supplementary phase and placement phase.
  • Spectrum will be allocated in 10 MHz lot sizes with a minimum bid of two lots per registered bidder. There will be a total of 16 lots available covering the frequency range from 3.59 to 3.75 GHz.
  • The reserve price will be set at $250,000 (excl GST) per lot.
  • To be eligible to participate, interested parties will be required to register and pay a deposit of $500,000.
  • An initial acquisition limit will be set at four lots (40 MHz) to any one registered bidder. The acquisition limit may be raised in the supplementary phase of the auction if lots go unsold in the clock phase.
  • Winning bidders must use 3.5 GHz rights to implement international (3GPP) 5G standards and synchronise with other users of the early access management rights.
  • Rights purchased at auction will not be able to be traded without the approval of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) for the duration of the management rights.
  • Successful bidders will be required to return to the Crown existing management rights they hold elsewhere in the 3.5 GHz band. A discount from the purchase price will be applied if spectrum is returned, based on the price per MHz rate of the winning bid.

Auction Catalogue

A copy of the Auction Catalogue is available below:

3.5 GHz Early Access Auction Catalogue (Auction 20) [PDF, 1011 KB]