Around 1990 NZ decided to auction off 3 TACS bands (the analogue system used in the UK) and the 2nd AMPS band (Telecom already owned the AMPS A band). The TACS spectrum was available for GSM use and spectrum was purchased by Telecom Australia, Telecom NZ and BellSouth. Telecom also purchased the 2nd AMPS band however the commerce commission ruled this was anti competitive and they had to either give up the AMPS B band or their TACS spectrum and Telecom chose the TACS spectrum, possibly because of the influence of Bell Atlantic who did not believe the proposed GSM standard would ever take off and that the AMPS spectrum offered the best option. This 3rd TACS band was then retained by the Crown and remained unused.
BellSouth then went on to build their GSM network while the other 2 TACS/GSM bands were unused until Vodafone formed an alliance with TelstraSaturn and proceeded to buy the Telstra 900MHz GSM spectrum, with commerce commission approval. Roll on 2002 and the Ministry of Economic Development were feeling happy with themselves after rolling in the big $$ in 2001 for their 2100MHz 3G spectrum so decided to sell the 900MHz spectrum because not a single other carrier was interested except for Vodafone.
Tex Edwards was obviously so heavily focussed on rolling out a 3G network because GSM was "old technology" that he didn't even lodge an objection with the commerce commission (neither did anybody else) over the sale and therefore the spectrum was sold to Vodafone which gave them 3x25MHz bands of spectrum and will potentially offer them an amazing opportunity in the coming years to roll out a 900MHz WCDMA/HSDPA network which will offer far greater coverage and capacity than a 2100MHz WCDMA network.
I only have one thing to say Tex - we're sick of your continual moaning. If you put as much effort into building a network over the past 5 years as you done talking about it and complaining about the regulatory environment in NZ then you could have stood a real chance of being a significant player in the mobile market in NZ. You need Vodafone and they don't care about you.
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