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Czech telecoms regulator CTU bids to attract fourth operator

12 Jun 2018

The Czech Telecommunication Office (Cesky telekomunikacni urad, CTU) is reported to be seeking to attract a fourth mobile operator in the Republic, in its latest bid to drive down end user mobile data charges which remain amongst the highest in the EU area. The Hospodarske Noviny newspaper yesterday (11 June) reported the head of the CTU, Jaromir Novak, as saying that he will use the auction of 5G mobile frequencies next year as a vehicle to help realise this plan. Mr Novak understands that despite imposing tougher rules on mobile internet prices in 2017 – the government amended the telecoms act, fast-tracking changes designed to reduce mobile phone bills, and specifically mobile data charges – the country has a long way to go to level the playing field. According to Novak, the CTU will therefore look to attract a fourth big operator to challenge the dominance of the three incumbents – O2, Vodafone and T-Mobile – and will openly court both local and European firms ahead of the 5G tender to do so. The auction is scheduled to take place in the second half of 2019 and a new operator could launch in 2020, he said.

TeleGeography notes that in July-August last year the CTU concluded its 3.7GHz band (3600MHz-3800MHz) auction and announced the allocation of spectrum blocks to four winning bidders. Nordic Telecom 5G was assigned two 40MHz blocks in the 3720MHz-3760MHz and 3760MHz-3800MHz range, O2 Czech Republic secured one block at 3680MHz-3720MHz, PODA now holds 3640MHz-3680MHz frequencies and Vodafone Czech Republic was assigned one block in the 3600MHz-3640MHz range. Each 40MHz block sold for CZK203 million (USD9.2 million), generating a total of CZK1.015 billion.

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