CTU pushes back Czech 5G auction timetable to January 2020

18 Oct 2019

Following a public consultation on the draft terms and conditions of the auction of 5G network frequencies in the 700MHz and 3400MHz–3600MHz (3.5GHz) bands, the Czech Telecommunication Office (CTU) has revised its framework dates for conducting the selection process, with the call for tenders postponed from autumn 2019 until the beginning of January 2020. The watchdog is seeking to allocate the frequencies in a bid to bolster competition in the Czech market where high prices have long been criticised by politicians and end users alike.

In communique Ref. No:CTU-42 109/2019-613 dated 15 October, the CTU issued the following timetable:

• Call for tenders (publication of documentation): beginning of January 2020

• Application for tender: mid-February 2020

• Launch of electronic auction: April 2020

• Issue of the decision on the allocation of radio frequencies: July 2020.

The schedule is, however, only indicative and therefore subject to change.

As previously reported by CommsUpdate, in June this year the CTU published the draft plan of the 5G auction, whose terms and conditions are based on previously published principles which the regulator has documented over the past year in its efforts to maximise the transparency of the selection process. The regulator notes that, in order to fulfil one of the main objectives of the auction – which is to deepen competition on the electronic communications market – it is reserving a 2×10MHz block of spectrum at 700MHz for a new operator(s). Further, newcomer(s) will be allowed to compete for another 5MHz, but if none of the new entrants in the first auction round show interest in this reserved block, it will open it up and offer it to all auction participants. Concurrently, in the 3.5GHz band the CTU says it will set ‘a new spectral limit for the new operator compared to the existing operators’. Additional Ts&Cs include the rule that any existing operators participating in the 700MHz band auction will assume a national roaming commitment (valid for six years), and what the watchdog terms ‘development criteria that ensure that frequencies are handled efficiently’.

Czech Republic, Czech Telecommunication Office (CTU)