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Incumbents all launch official challenges to Czech 5G auction

11 Sep 2020

Czech mobile network operators (MNOs) Vodafone and T-Mobile have reportedly filed legal complaints against the regulator, the Czech Telecommunications Office (CTU’s) planned auction of 5G-suitable spectrum in the Prague courts, joining rival O2 Czech Republic which lodged its own complaint with the European Commission (EC) over the terms and conditions of the process in July.

In an article dated 10 September, CTK News Agency claimed it had ‘found out from individual companies’ that the complaints had been submitted – specifically challenging such things as plans on national roaming and the low cap on 3400MHz–3600MHz frequency allocations (which they say will preclude gigabit speeds) – and that the watchdog is aware of the situation.

As previously reported by CommsUpdate, on 7 August 2020 the CTU launched the tender to award radio frequencies in the 700MHz and 3400MHz–3600MHz bands, and confirmed its intention to boost competition by licensing a new player in a market that has long faced vocal criticism from politicians and consumers for the high cost of mobile services. Following its public consultation on its proposals, the regulator has highlighted a number of key aims of the tender. Whilst interested bidders have until 30 September 2020 to submit applications to take part in the auction, the proposals met with immediate scepticism and criticism from the incumbents. In a statement issued after the watchdog’s update, Vodafone criticised the CTU saying: ‘Given the mistakes and problems in the conditions, it can be expected that the auction will result in clashes at courts and also the European Commission’. Rival T-Mobile also raised concerns over the plan, which is seen as not well prepared, with spokesman Jiri Janecek saying: ‘We have to study the conditions and ponder our next steps, including possible charges’. O2 Czech Republic, meanwhile, had already filed its complaint with the EC by that date.

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