The Czech Telecommunications Office (CTU) said five companies have applied to participate in a tender for fourth-generation mobile frequencies by the Sept 30 deadline. The bidders are the three incumbent mobile companies - Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile CR and the local units of Spanish Telefonica and UK's Vodafone as well as Revolution Mobile, a former unit of financial group PPF, and Tasciane AS, controlled by the KKCG group of entrepreneur Karel Komarek.
PPF Group, which was expected to participate in the auction, said it will not take part as the tender rules banned any new entrant from merging with another participant for 15 years. Instead, the group sold its unit PPF Mobile Services to its director Tomas Budnik and the company was then renamed to Revolution Mobile.
CTU seeks to raise at least CZK 8.72bn from the tender that will enable the entry of a fourth player on the market as the regulator has stuck to plans to reserve spectrum for a newcomer despite protests by incumbents. CTU will auction 800 MHz, 1,800 MHz and 2,600 MHz frequencies for fast mobile networks LTE. Under the auction rules, CTU will allocate blocks of the 800 MHz band, the backbone for building a country-wide 4G network that enables faster mobile broadband access, and a space in the 1,800 MHz band for a new player to compete with the country’s three existing operators. The regulator cancelled in March the first LTE auction because the bids exceeded CZK 20bn and CTU feared that the high costs may trigger an unwanted jump in prices.
CTU said it expects the electronic auction to start on Nov 11.
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