Telefonica O2 CR intensifies criticism of 4G auction plans

26 Jun 2013

Telefonica O2 CR has upped the ante in the ongoing dispute over the country’s proposed auction of 4G LTE mobile frequency licences, saying it may lodge an official complaint with the European Union (EU) over the terms and conditions – set out this week – which it argues places it at a disadvantage. Reuters cites a spokesman for the group, Hany Farghali, as saying that Telefonica O2 CR considers the current auction rules ‘unbalanced’ adding that: ‘If they stay this way so that they favour one subject, then we would have to consider all our options, including a potential complaint to the European Commission against illegal support.’

This week the national industry regulator the Czech Telecommunication Office (CTU) confirmed it was sticking to its guns vis-à-vis the 4G auction, and will forge ahead with the allocation of spectrum to a new market entrant when the revamped tender takes place in July 2013. The CTU is setting aside two blocks of 800MHz spectrum for a potential newcomer, as well as sticking with a plan to introduce a spectrum cap on all companies looking to purchase bandwidth (i.e. a maximum two blocks each in the 800MHz band) – which is seen as critical in the swift deployment of 4G services across the Czech Republic.

However, the Republic’s existing mobile operators have openly criticised the CTU’s plans, arguing that they will be at a competitive disadvantage if the new entrant is allowed to pay less for its licence. The fourth bidder in the auction is expected to be PPF Mobile Services, a unit of the PPF investment group owned by Czech businessman Petr Kellner.

Czech Republic, O2 Czech Republic (incl. CETIN)