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Telecom lines up to buy 700MHz spectrum to extend reach of 4G network

Friday 4th October 2013

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Telecom has registered as a bidder for this month's government auction of spectrum in the 700 Megahertz range, which the phone company would use to build out its 4Gnetwork from major cities.

The government has spent $157 million clearing the spectrum of analogue television broadcasting to allow mobile phone operators to meet demand for ultra-fast mobile broadband services. The auction is scheduled to start on Oct. 29.

Telecom is already building its 4G network in major cities using 1800MHz spectrum though 700MHz is more economic for rural areas as it requires fewer cell sites.

"We hope to use 700MHz spectrum as the backbone of our 4G network," chief executive Simon Moutter said in a statement.

Devices suitable for use with 4G are expected to start becoming available in mid-to-late 2014.

Rival operator 2degrees said last month criticised the high prices for fourth generation mobile spectrum, with the government's reserve set at $198 million - well above the costs to clearing the band and the Treasury's $119 million valuation.

Shares of Telecom fell 0.4 percent to $2.31 today and have gained about 2 percent this year.

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