The Wireless Internet Service Providers' Association (WISPA) has welcomed the government's decision to directly allocate radio-frequency spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band, instead of auctioning off management rights for it.
Mike Smith, chair of WISPA, said the announcement gives the industry an affordable way to deploy 5G technology.
"WISPA members, along with private network operators, are ready to use this allocation in the band as soon as it is announced," Smith said.
"Once spectrum becomes available, we can deliver rural broadband to those people outside of the small towns and major centres which will get 5G services," he added.
Smith said WISPA wants a regional spectrum allocation for 3.5 GHz, and that the association's members need to have fair and equal access to the new spectrum and any upcoming bands as well.
An ongoing concern of WISPA's has been that too much focus on mobile 5G would limit the benefits of the 3.5 GHz for regional NZ, which could set back rural connectivity.
Smith said key elements of the band plan for the 3.5 GHz spectrum are critical for regional uptake.
These include the cell size, sync rates and guardbands, all of which need to be fit for purpose for such an allocation, he added.
"WISPA is advocating for a band plan that's specifically designed to meet the needs of those who will use it, [and] not the interests of our MNOs (mobile network operators) who have quite different business and operational models," Smith said.
Overall, WISPA says the announcement is a win for New Zealand, which also confirms the commitment to Māori being allocated spectrum in the band.
WISPA said it represents more than 30 wireless Internet service provides around Aotearoa New Zealand.