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Woosh take-over in jeopardy

NZ government skewers spectrum aggregation

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The New Zealand government has put a spanner in the works for Canadian company Craig Wireless’s proposed US$5.5 million purchase of Woosh Wireless.

Woosh Wireless has been denied its request to lift the spectrum cap allotted to each carrier - ahead of schedule - by the New Zealand Economic Development Ministry.

The Dominion Post reports that a spokesperson for the Communications Minister Steven Joyce confirmed that he had accepted the ministry's advice not to lift the cap.

When Craig Wireless announced its intent to acquire wireless broadband provider Woosh in September, the deal was based on the condition that Woosh would be able to transfer 30MHz of radio spectrum in the 2.3-2.5GHz band to Craig.

Craig Wireless already owns 40MHz in the same band, and under existing regulation no company can own more than 40MHz in the 2.3-2.5GHz band until December next year. Last month rival carrier CallPlus spoke out against the lifting of the cap claiming it would set a “dangerous precedent.”

During the New Zealand Ministry of Economic Development’s closed consultation on the matter CallPlus said "if the rules were changed now to enable this acquisition it may potentially encourage more speculation which will limit competition further and artificially increase the cost of building wireless networks in New Zealand.”

Neither Woosh nor Craig Wireless have been available for comment on the development and how it will alter the acquisition plans. ®

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