Czech 5G auction faces delay to May 2020

Czech 5G auction faces delay to May 2020

Czechia may delay the 5G spectrum auction that it has scheduled in January in order to attract more bidders.

Speaking to the local news agency CTK, Minister of industry and trade Karel Havlicek said that the government was keen to attract a fourth bidder for the available 700MHz and 3500MHz frequencies in order to boost competition, given the nation’s longstanding complaints over high service costs.

Havlicek said that the impact of a potential newcomer on the market was worth the delay, saying: “If it has been debated for several years, then it is not the most important thing whether it will take place in January or May.”

The Czech Telecommunication Office (CTU) first published its draft plan for the country’s 5G auction in June 2019, featuring terms and conditions intended to offer maximum transparency. Originally scheduled for autumn 2019, the tender process was pushed into into January 2020 and now faces a further delay.

To encourage competition, the regulator is keeping aside a 2×10MHz block of 700MHz spectrum for a new market entrant. Newcomers will also have priority bidding on a further 5MHz, although this will be offered to all bidders if it is not acquired in the first round by a newcomer.

However, local provider Nordic Telecom has claimed that more spectrum should be made available for newcomers, while adding that the coverage target times should be decreased to ensure that only serious contenders bid on the spectrum. Operators currently are required to reach 95% coverage within three years, ensuring that their networks cover cities that don’t currently receive high speed internet.

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