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Hopes high for Czech LTE auctions

The upcoming 4G LTE auctions in the Czech Republic are expected by the country’s regulator to raise over CZK7.4 billion (US$354 million). Operators have until September to apply for licences covering spectrum in the 800MHz, 1800MHz and 2600MHz bands, while the licensing process is expected to be over by the end of 2012.

An unspecified amount of 1800MHz frequency has been set aside by the country’s telecoms bureau as a means of fostering competition. The spectrum will be awarded to a new competitor to challenge Telefonica CR, T-Mobile and Vodafone.

The controversial move originally aimed to make use of the easier-to-use 800MHz frequency, but was rejected by the regulator on the grounds that this could be considered biased against the established operators.

However, the decision to use 1800MHz frequencies has also drawn criticism as startup operators would have less experience of using the more technologically challenging spectrum and could be deterred from the auctions altogether.

At the end of Q2 2012, the Czech Republic had 13.7 million mobile connections, with around 3.2 million of these using 3G.

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