Czech 5G auction attracts buyers but not new blood

Czech 5G auction attracts buyers but not new blood

The Czech Telecommunication Office (CTU) has confirmed that five participants have won frequencies in the country’s 5G spectrum auction.

Despite government hopes that a fourth major player would be established through the auction, incumbents O2 Czech Republic, T-Mobile and Vodafone obtained the lion’s share of the available frequencies.

In particular, the incumbents each bagged spectrum in the 700MHz band, which they will use to deploy nationwide networks. CommsUpdate notes that O2 acquired a 2×10MHz block conditional on a commitment to developing emergency and security services, as well as offering national roaming.

Conditions were also attached to 20MHz blocks of spectrum in the 3400MHz-3600MHz band, with winning bidders O2 and CentreNet required to “lease [these] frequencies to support Industry 4.0”. The CTU noted that “all the offered blocks [in this band] were successfully allocated in the auction” following successful bids from Vodafone, T-Mobile and Nordic Telecom. PODA and Sev.en Innovations lodged unsuccessful bids.

Nordic Telecom is looking to position itself as a challenger by offering nationwide mobile services in a market frequently bemoaned as one of the most expensive in Europe. The government has come under political and consumer pressure to improve competition in a bid to drive down tariffs considered overpriced.

The CTU noted that the five winning bidders collectively spent CZK5.596 billion (USD250.7 million) in the auction. Industry Minister Karel Havlicek stated that “new players would increase competitive pressure on existing operators and industry would have better access to 5G after the auction.”

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