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Five firms, including incumbents, win frequencies in Czech 5G auction

16 Nov 2020

In a press release dated 13 November, the Czech Telecommunication Office (CTU) said it has successfully completed the auction phase of bidding on particular auction blocks offered in the frequency bands for future 5G networks, with five groups winning spectrum allocations. However, the government’s long-held desire to see a major new fourth mobile network operator (MNO) enter the market appears to have been dashed, with the bulk of frequencies on offer going to the incumbents – O2 Czech Republic, T-Mobile and Vodafone.

The telecoms regulator confirmed that in total, the five firms agreed to pay a total of CZK5.596 billion (USD250.7 million), with the existing MNOs each securing blocks in the 700MHz band suitable for building out national networks. In the 700MHz band, O2 gained the 2×10MHz block connected with the commitment to provide national roaming and PPDR services for public emergency and security bodies. Other blocks in the 700MHz band were acquired by T-Mobile and Vodafone. In the 3400MHz-3600MHz band, blocks of 20MHz ‘connected with the commitment to lease frequencies to support Industry 4.0’ were won by O2 and CentroNet. Other successful applicants in this band were T-Mobile, Vodafone and Nordic Telecom 5G, with the CTU noting that upon completion ‘all the offered blocks were successfully allocated in the auction’. Two other groups – PODA and Sev.en Innovations – participated in bidding but were not successful.

With the government keen to see new competition to drive down mobile prices that are among the highest in Europe, Nordic Telecom has said it will look to offer mobile services to customers around the country. Commenting on the auction results, the country’s industry minister Karel Havlicek said on Twitter that ‘new players would increase competitive pressure on existing operators and industry would have better access to 5G after the auction’.

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