Hamish Fletcher

Business reporter for the NZ Herald

2degrees founder protests with loaves of bread

Ted Edwards delivered Vogel's bread to the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment in protest today.
Ted Edwards delivered Vogel's bread to the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment in protest today.

2degrees' founder Tex Edwards turned up at Government offices in Auckland with loaves of bread and used mobile phone SIM cards to protest "poor public policy management" of the 4G spectrum auction.

The 700 MHz spectrum previously used for analogue television broadcasting is being auctioned by the Government to telcos for use of faster 4G mobile internet services.

The auction is scheduled to begin later this month. Telecom, Vodafone, 2degrees have registered as bidders in the auction but Edwards also wanted to take part.

Bidders in the auction are required to pay a $5 million deposit and Edwards - who no longer works at 2degrees but has a small shareholding in it through his firm KLR Investments - previously said he was going to register by delivering 20,000 loaves of stale bread and used SIM cards to the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

In doing this KLR was "registering its protest, at what it sees as the officials egregiously misleading market monitoring and poor public policy management of this auction".

"All the market analysis which the Commerce Commission and the MBIE provided for a decision on Spectrum allocation was seriously flawed," KLR said in a statement.

"The ComCom and the MBIE have a requirement to promote competition and the long term interests of kiwi consumers and they have failed to do that with their spectrum auction because of misguided information pertaining to the mobile markets structure," the statement said.

Rather than delivering stale bread, Edwards said he delivered Vogel's to MBIE

"They say Vogel's is 'worth waiting on' so I hope over the time they take to eat it they will be able to rethink their position. The industry deserves better. New Zealand deserves better. Better market analysis, better information," Edwards said.

Asked if the MBIE took the bread, Edwards replied:

"Of course they took the bread!"

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