Telecom and Vodafone New Zealand have been selected for commercial negotiations in their joint bid for the New Zealand Government’s $NZ285 million Rural Broadband Initiative.
The proposal is based on 3G technology and uses existing infrastructure, capability and experience. The Government dismissed a rival proposal consisting of TD-LTE technology being deployed.
“A fast start will come from building out from the investment both parties have already made in fibre, mobile and fixed line networks,” the two companies said in a statement to the ASX.
In a statement, New Zealand ICT minister, Steven Joyce, said contracts would be signed separately with both telco's by the end of the first quarter. Construction is expected to take place halfway through this year.
The two companies have established an open access approach, which will allow other operators to access the infrastructure on equal terms. This will provide strong retail competition from different technologies and service providers, and a choice of solutions and providers for rural NZ.
The bid is based on the two companies working together at an infrastructure level to minimise unnecessary infrastructure duplication, and both will continue this collaborative approach with other parties.
The news comes on the back of Vodafone facing class action from customers over its poor call quality and customer service.