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Private equity group PPF mulls Czech mobile licence bid

23 May 2012

Dow Jones Newswires reports that PPF Group, the richest private-equity firm in central Europe, is considering bidding for a 4G mobile licence in the Czech Republic. ‘I can confirm we have sent a letter as a part of the official comment procedure. Whether we will or will not take part in the auction depends on the final conditions of the tender,’ Radek Stavel, a spokesman for PPF, told Dow Jones Newswires.

The country’s national regulator, the Czech Telecommunication Office (CTU) will review comments and submissions from interested companies until 30 June, following which it will start discussions with them in July with a view to finalising the terms and conditions for the auction by the end of the year. It is understood that the three Czech incumbent cellcos – Telefonica O2 CR, T-Mobile CR and Vodafone’s local unit – are among the 29 companies or legal entities to have expressed interest in participating in the auction for new mobile frequencies.

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database writes that in April this year, the CTU approached a number of domestic and international companies with the terms and conditions of its forthcoming sale of 4G mobile frequencies. The Czech watchdog wrote to telecoms operators such as China Mobile and financial groups – including PPF – and KKCG and J&T Finance Group, as part of the government’s proactive efforts to raise a minimum CZK9.2 billion (USD494 million) for state coffers through the auctioning off of additional mobile frequencies. The national regulator 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 800MHz and 2600MHz 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.

Czech Republic, Czech Telecommunication Office (CTU)

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