The Czech Telecommunications Office (CTU) has announced that the tender for the sale of frequencies for fourth-generation Long Term Evolution (LTE) mobile services is being left open for the time being, and that it will not announce the results next Wednesday as originally planned. No reason was given for the regulator’s decision and no new date has been published on when the auction of 800MHz, 1800MHz and 2600MHz spectrum will end. The outcome of the LTE auction will be determined by the level of ‘further interest of the auction participants in the offered frequencies’, Reuters reports the CTU as saying.
As reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, earlier this month the CTU launched its auction of frequencies suitable for the provision of 4G services in the country. The process is expected to see four pre-qualified bidders – incumbents T-Mobile Czech Republic, Telefonica O2 CR and Vodafone Czech Republic and local financial firm PPF Group’s subsidiary PPF Mobile Services – taking part for spectrum in bands available.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the watchdog will auction off spectrum in three frequency bands, with the lowest band considered key to developing widespread high speed broadband mobile internet coverage across the country. The reserve price for this band has been set at CZK1.1 billion (USD54.89 million) for the six blocks on offer but, partly in response to comments from industry players, it is understood the CTU believes that an extension in national roaming conditions would be the best way for a newcomer to get off the ground without prohibitive start-up costs. The regulator also now intends to cut the cost of new frequencies in the 1800MHz band by 20% to attract a newcomer, with the PPF Group (controlled by billionaire Petr Kell) considered the only viable contender to establish a venture to challenge the big three incumbents at this time. However, analysts remain to be convinced that that Czech mobile market is big enough and lucrative enough to support a new entrant.