The Czech Telecommunication Office (Cesky telekomunikacni urad, CTU) has extended the allocation of frequencies to operators in the 2100 MHz band for another 20 years.
It also has imposed a new obligation to support older phones.
In a press release explaining the new concept, CTU noted that O2 is obliged to maintain its 2G GSM network until at least 2028 unless the share of all users using this older technology falls below 5%.
The regulator is mindful that some Czechs (usually senior citizens) do not cope so well with more modern smartphones and it wants to ensure their ability to make voice calls is maintained.
CTU Council Chair, Mrs. Hana Továrková, has reached a consensus with operator O2 which will be a benefit for the general public. "The negotiations have been difficult, and I am not afraid to call our approach innovative. We hereby thank O2 for reaching a consensus that will particularly benefit the elderly and the socially weaker persons," said Hana Továrková.
"It is in our interest to maintain the most attractive possible spectrum which enables us to continue deploying fast and high-quality 5G network. However, we also understand the need for an older 2G network suitable for basic phones, which we are prepared to continue to operate as well as ever, “said Václav Zakouřil, a member of the board of directors of O2.
In the following period, new block allocations will most likely be issued to other holders of allocations in the 2100 MHz band. All block allocations have been, and continue to be, technology-neutral per European legislation, allowing their holders to innovate the technologies used to provide electronic communications services.
Under the current legislation, new block allocations shall be offered to their current holders at a price determined by an expert report which respects both the period of validity and the costs necessary to meet any new conditions imposed.