The Czech Republic’s 4G spectrum auctions have not attracted a new market entrant, contrary to the hopes of the market’s regulator CTU.
The incumbent operators Vodafone, Telefonica O2 and T-Mobile respectively spent CZK3.1 billion, CZK2.8 billion and CZK2.6 billion on acquiring spectrum. All three were also able to obtain spectrum in the highly prized 800MHz band despite the fact that CTU had reserved blocks for a market newcomer. Two start up operators dropped out of the bidding without gaining any spectrum.
Each of the three major operators also obtained spectrum in the 2.6GHz and 1.8Ghz bands, both of which contain unassigned wireless frequencies. CTU is reportedly keen to sell the remaining spectrum.
Under the terms of the licences, operators must provide LTE coverage to 50% of the country’s districts within the first 3 months. In addition, they must allow MVNOs access to their LTE networks.
While it was widely believed that investment group PPF would join the bidding, the group objected to certain licensing terms and instead acquired a controlling stake in Telefonica’s Czech operation.