The Czech Telecommunication Office has published draft conditions governing its forthcoming sale of frequencies suitable for 5G mobile services, noting that reserve prices on the available spectrum mean the process should net upwards of quarter of a billion euros for government coffers and that the conditions of the sale are designed to facilitate the entry of a new player to the market.
The regulator aims to auction off spectrum in the 700 MHz and 3.5 GHz bands in January next year with a view to handing over the airwaves to operators by April for use by mid-2020.
Further, any incumbent operator acquiring 700-MHz spectrum will be required to provide national roaming to the newcomer for six years. However, to take advantage of this condition the newcomer will have to cover 20% of the Czech population with its own network.
The regulator also outlined a series of coverage obligations the auction participants must adhere to. Finally, it noted that it has set reserve prices based on analysis of spectrum sales elsewhere in Europe. Presuming all available frequencies are sold, the state will raise upwards of 6.3 billion koruna.
At the same time, PM Babiš and new Minister of Industry and Trade Karel Havlíček are negotiating with three existing operators T-Mobile, O2, and Vodafone to make data services much cheaper or free of charge. “We will not let this issue go until something changes,” said Havlíček.
“We meet with interested parties. None of them will confirm it, but the discussion about the telecommunication market is underway. Much will depend on conditions and specific parameters of the 700 MHz band auction. We want to set them to be attractive for new contenders,” said Babiš.