The Czech regulator has announced plans to regulate the country’s mobile data market next year after deciding there isn’t enough competition.
In a pretty big shake-up of the existing order, the Czech Telecommunication Office (CTO) now plans to impose an obligation on O2, T-Mobile and Vodafone to allow virtual operators access to their wholesale mobile services at a regulated price.
The Prague Morning news website explains that the whole business could take until the middle of next year as the regulation can only apply after notification by the European Commission.
The regulated wholesale price of mobile data is intended to enable virtual operators to replicate the offers of mobile network operators and compete with them on the market.
The analysis that the Office has completed in recent days has found a number of failures in the market. One of the most important is the fact that the wholesale price of data per MB transferred in the period 2015 to 2020 was always higher than or at least equal to the retail price.
In 2020, the wholesale price was almost double the retail price, making it impossible for MVNOs to compete or profit.
There’s been pushback from Vodafone, which has reminded the CTO that the European Commission refused to regulate the mobile market in the Czech Republic in July 2019. It adds that the main problem in the Czech market is the sharing of mobile networks between O2 / CETIN and T-Mobile.
The price of mobile data in the Czech Republic has halved in the last two years and there’s been a tenfold reduction since 2011, mainly due to the introduction of unlimited data tariffs and the strengthening of competition.