Current and upcoming spectrum auctions

Information about current and upcoming spectrum auctions can be found on this page.

Auction 20

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. These rights will 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.

Auction conditions that have been announced so far include that:

  • 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 will 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.

Mailing list for further updates

If you would like to receive email updates about Auction 20, please subscribe to our mailing list here(external link).

Subscribers will receive updates about the auction details as they become publically available. The mailing list is intended for information distribution only – you do not need to register as a bidder or provide any details about your organisation. Bidder registration for the auction is expected to open in the week beginning 24 February 2020.

Subscribers to this mailing list will receive general news about the auction. More detailed information will be provided to registered bidders.

Provisional timetable for the auction

Date – week beginning Event
10 February 2020 Draft Auction Catalogue released for consultation
17 February 2020 Feedback on draft Auction Catalogue closes
24 February 2020 Bidder registration opens
Final Auction Catalogue released
4 March 2020 Bidder workshop
16 March 2020 Bidder registration closes
30 March 2020 Auction begins

Once an auction date has been set, it will be publicised by media release and through the Ministry’s business update service.