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CTU to force incumbent cellcos to allow MVNOs, report says

29 Mar 2012

The Czech Telecommunication Office (CTU) could force the country’s incumbent mobile operators – Telefonica O2 CR, T-Mobile Czech Republic and Vodafone CR – to open up their networks to new mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), possibly as early as this summer, Reuters quotes a spokesman as saying. The CTU’s Frantisek Malina said yesterday that under the plan, incumbent cellcos would be required to provide wholesale services to MVNOs wishing to enter the local market. ‘The European Commission needs to assess the market. Then an analysis will be needed and an obligation to make a wholesale offer could be made,’ he said.

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database writes that the CTU, which has recently come under criticism from Czech industry minister Martin Kuba for its handling of the domestic telecoms market, has increased its activity in recent weeks. Earlier this month the CTU said it was looking to raise CZK9.2 billion (USD494 million) for state coffers through the auctioning off of additional mobile frequencies. The watchdog plans 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 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. Speaking at the time, 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. Any firm winning new spectrum will also be required to offer wholesale access to new mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), he said. The CTU aims to hold the multi-round auction by the year-end and hopes that network infrastructure could be deployed from 2013, Dvorak added.

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