ComCom clears Spark for 2.3GHz spectrum purchase

24 Mar 2016

New Zealand’s anti-trust authority the Commerce Commission (ComCom) has formally approved an application by Spark New Zealand (formerly Telecom New Zealand) to purchase the management rights to 70MHz worth of radio spectrum in the 2300MHz band from Craig NZ and Woosh NZ. In a media release on its website, the authority confirmed Spark’s intention to use the 2300MHz spectrum to increase and strengthen its fixed-wireless product offerings, noting that as an adjunct to its application, ComCom had ‘considered whether the acquisition would affect competition for urban and rural broadband customers’. Having done so, the chairman of the commission, Dr Mark Berry, ruled that it ‘is satisfied that the acquisition will not have, or would not be likely to have, the effect of substantially lessening competition in the affected markets’. Dr Berry pointed out that while the acquisition may result in Craig NZ not expanding its existing wireless service, it is confident that access to the 2300MHz spectrum will enable Spark to deliver a wireless alternative to rural users and to those in urban areas without access to fibre-optic broadband. ‘As a result, this acquisition may have some pro-competitive effects in the market and improve the quality of service to customers on poor quality copper lines. The main competitive tension in broadband markets would also continue,’ Dr Berry said. A public version of the written reasons for the decision will be available shortly on the Clearances Register.

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