Three of New Zealand’s largest telecommunications companies – 2degrees, Spark and Vodafone – will work together to improve internet connectivity in rural areas and fix mobile blackspots along main highways and key tourist spots.
Top tier law firm, MinterEllisonRuddWatts acted for 2degrees, Spark and Vodafone on the establishment of joint venture company, the Rural Connectivity Group, and on the agreement with Crown Fibre Holdings under which the joint venture company will receive between $150million and $250million in funding for the build program.
The funding from Crown Fibre Holdings, together with capital, telecommunications infrastructure build and operations’ expertise from 2degrees, Spark and Vodafone, will help to extend the rural broadband network and significantly increase mobile coverage across New Zealand.
Corporate partners Cathy Quinn ONZM and Tom Maasland led the law firm’s teams across two work streams, working closely with the highly experienced in-house legal teams of the three telecommunications companies.
Cathy advised the consortium on the establishment of the joint venture, and Tom negotiated the agreement with Crown Fibre Holdings on their behalf, in each case under pressing timeframes.
“Spark, Vodafone and 2degrees have joined together to establish New Zealand’s first network sharing arrangement between all three telecommunications companies,” says Cathy Quinn ONZM.
“To form the joint venture, we needed to take an innovative approach to overcome the complexities of advising three parties who in all other respects are competitors.”
Tom Maasland adds: “This unprecedented telecommunications joint venture will see at least 400 new cell towers constructed to increase coverage to remote and under-served rural areas, and in mobile blackspot and significant tourist areas.
“We’re proud to be part of the team improving mobility and connectivity for New Zealanders, and to have helped these three companies make history in New Zealand.”
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