Czech regulator maps out spectrum auctions and other tasks for 2016

The Czech Telecommunication Office laid out its spectrum auction agenda for 2016, noting that its tasks include the sale of remaining frequencies in the 1800 MHz and 2.6 GHz bands as well as new allocations in the 3.6-3.8 GHz bands.

The CTO (or CTU in Czech) said approval is still required by the government of the two planned tenders as well as the level of spectrum fees.

The CTO last carried out an LTE spectrum auction in November 2013, when the three existing players, T-Mobile Czech Republic, Telefónica Czech Republic (now O2 Czech Republic after Telefónica sold the company) and Vodafone Czech Republic, all acquired spectrum.

Operators paid a combined CZK8.5 billion (€314.5 million/$343.6 million) for their licences in the 800 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2.6 GHz bands. Hopes that the auction would pave the way for a fourth market entrant were dashed when new applicants Revolution Mobile and Sazka Telecommunications decided against competing with the existing three players.

The CTO had, for example, reserved a block of spectrum for a new entrant in a move that proved contentious among the incumbent operators. Nevertheless, the regulator said at the time it had fulfilled its goal to allocate spectrum to allow operators to build LTE networks within a short period of time.

A further task the CTO identified for 2016 will be to monitor whether or not the operators have met the network deployment criteria of their previously won licences. Operators have until 30 months after the allocation to comply with rules including the coverage of at least 30 sparsely populated regions of the country. The deadline for that is in August this year.

The CTO said it is also keeping a constant eye on whether the further densification of LTE networks is having a harmful effect on digital terrestrial television (DVB-T) through interference, while work is also being carried out on how to migrate to DVB-2.

For more:
- see the CTO release (in Czech)

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