Czech regulator plans auction for 1800 MHz and 2.6 GHz frequencies

The Czech Telecommunication Office (CTO) announced plans to auction off remaining frequencies in the 1800 MHz and 2.6 GHz bands and has invited interested parties to submit their applications by Mar. 22.

The announcement comes less than two weeks after the CTO (or CTU in Czech) said the government needed to approve the tender as well as the level of spectrum fees. The initial reserve price has now been set at CZK734 million (€27 million/$30 million) and the auction is expected to be carried out in the second quarter of this year.

The regulator also laid out specific requirements for potential bidders, including coverage and speed obligations. It stressed that the overall aim of the auction is to create the basis for the further development of mobile broadband and thus aid competition in the market.

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 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.

The regulator has also previously indicated it plans to auction new allocations in the 3.6-3.8 GHz bands in 2016.

For more:
- see this CTO release

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