Czech government looking to raise USD494m from mobile frequencies auction

20 Mar 2012

The government of the Czech Republic hopes to raise a minimum CZK9.2 billion (USD494 million) for state coffers through the auctioning off of additional mobile frequencies, the regulator the Czech Telecommunication Office (CTU) said yesterday. The CTU is looking to sell blocks of spectrum in the 800MHz, 1800MHz and 2600MHz bands to allow the incumbent mobile operators to develop 4G networks in the Republic, and possibly allow for a new entrant to launch in the market. The Czech mobile sector is currently divided between three players – Telefonica O2 CR, T-Mobile CR and Vodafone’s local unit. The frequencies on offer can be purchased by the existing cellcos in order to add 4G services to their service portfolios. The 1800MHz band is reserved for a possible new entrant.

CTU chairman Pavel Dvorak said the primary aim of the auction is ‘to secure, in a relatively short time, fourth-generation mobile broadband services,’ for the Czech people. ‘The proposed conditions are set in a way that in case there is real interest, they will allow the entry of another mobile operator,’ he added. Furthermore, the terms and conditions set out rules to ensure that any newcomer will be allowed to roam on existing operators’ networks whilst they deploy their new antennae. Also, any firm winning new spectrum will be required to offer wholesale access to new mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), he said. The CTU aims to hold the multi-round auction should by the year-end and hopes that network infrastructure could be deployed from 2013, Dvorak said.