CTU cancels 4G tender after bids spiral beyond USD1bn

11 Mar 2013

The Czech Telecommunications Office (CTU) has cancelled its auction of 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) mobile frequencies after bids rose beyond the USD1 billion mark, prompting concerns over the competitive pricing of new services and the speed at which operators would be able to launch them. Following the setback, the regulator says it will begin over with its plans, with CTU spokesman Frantisek Malina quoted as saying: ‘We are intensively working on new, modified conditions for granting the frequencies.’

‘Such excessive prices of the auctioned frequencies would have to negatively translate into excessive charges for fast mobile internet,’ CTU chairman Pavel Dvorak confirmed in a written statement. ‘We therefore consider it necessary to step in and prevent future negative consequences for the customers.’

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in November 2012 the CTU launched its auction of frequencies suitable for the provision of 4G services. The process was 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 the 800MHz, 1800MHz and 2600MHz bands. However, only weeks later the CTU announced that the tender was being ‘left open’ for the time being, without giving any reason.