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Czech 4G auctions back on track

Having cancelled its previous licensing process due to concerns over escalating prices, the Czech telecoms regulator has restarted the country’s 4G spectrum auction process.

The auctions will cover the 800MHz, 1800MHz and 2600MHz frequencies.

The CTU has stated that the allocation of and payment for frequency blocks will take place before the end of 2013. Winning bidders will likely be granted permission to begin using their spectrum in early 2014.

The three major operators in the market have expressed discontent over the licensing proposals, as the CTU intends to reserve a large block of spectrum for a potential newcomer to the market. The Czech branches of Telefonica, T-Mobile and Vodafone have claimed that they will be at a disadvantage if the new entrant can acquire the block at a discount.

The big three have also expressed concern over the increase in competition, but in practice it may be difficult for a newcomer to gain ground against three established competitors while simultaneously funding a new network. This would be exacerbated by the market’s relatively small size.

The previous licensing process was cancelled out of concern for subscribers. Bids were massively exceeding the reserve prices, which the CTU believed would cause slow network build-outs and higher tariffs for consumers.

A fourth participant in the previous process – private equity PPF – is widely expected to take part in the upcoming bidding.

 

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