Fourth Czech operator U:fon to be sold to Nordic Investors

U:fon, the fourth mobile network operator in the Czech Republic, is to be sold to private equity firm Nordic Investors ahead of the company's plan to launch LTE services within the next 12 months.

The company, which TeleGeography noted was acquired by Air Telecom in 2012, currently operates a CDMA network but plans to move over to LTE in future.

Roman Fura, director of development and strategy at Air Telecom, said the company has been working on the transition from CDMA to LTE for the past three years.

"Thus, we have created the necessary conditions for the deployment of LTE networks and putting it into operation," Fura said.

Air Telecom chairman Martin Hes also noted that the sale to Nordic Investors is a "logical outcome" for the company.

"We invested primarily in a technological shift in society. Today the project is completed…Investing in new technology deployment will be in the hundreds of millions of crowns," Hes said.

The company said the existing CDMA network signal covers almost 90 per cent of the Czech Republic and provides a maximum data transfer speed of 3.1 Mbps. Speeds of up to 30 Mbps are expected to be available on the LTE network.

Fura added that, since the LTE network will run in the 400 MHz band, "it is anticipated that we will be able to offer fast internet and VoLTE, and also support smart services such as Smart Home, Smart City, Smart Education or Smart Health services."

Once it launches LTE services, the company will be able to compete with existing LTE players on the market. O2 Czech Republic, Vodafone Czech Republic and T-Mobile Czech Republic all heavily market LTE and LTE Advanced services and highlight inclusive content, smartphone data allowances of up to 10 GB and data-sharing options.

In March, the three existing operators also applied for the auction of remaining frequencies in the 1800 MHz and 2.6 GHz bands. The auction had been scheduled to take place at the end of April, but the Czech Telecommunication Office (CTO) does not appear to have provided an update on any outcome.

For more:
- see this U:fon release (in Czech)
- see this TeleGeography article

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