William Malcolm

CTU Kicks Off 5G Spectrum Auction

The Czech Telecommunication Office has already started the auction part of the auction of frequencies in the 700 and 3400 to 3600 MHz bands for fast 5G mobile networks. Seven bidders are bidding. The total starting price of the frequencies was CZK 5.4 billion. The Office has previously stated that the active phase will probably end by Christmas at the latest, with allocations due to the legislative deadlines likely to occur after the new year.

The minimum starting price for one frequency block ranges from CZK 110 million in the 3.4 to 3.6 GHz band to CZK 1.4 billion for frequencies in the 700 MHz band reserved for the new operator. “The minimum bid results from the auction conditions, depending on the type and location of the block,” Havelková added.

The CTU is bidding on frequencies in the 700 MHz band released by the transition from TV broadcasting to DVB-T2 and frequencies from 3.4 to 3.6 GHz. The aggregate starting price is about 900 million lower than the Office’s original plan last year. The reason is the results of similar competitions elsewhere in the world and the reduction in the price of one of the frequency blocks, which is linked to the obligation to provide so-called national roaming. The Office revised the auction conditions three times.

Three domestic operators challenged the auction through lawsuits and complaints to the European Commission. They are particularly bothered by national roaming conditions and the small bandwidth in the 3.4-3.6 GHz band. According to them, the auction contains unauthorized public support. According to the chairwoman of the CTU, Hana Továrková, there is no support.

The auction should bring to market one or more new operators who would increase competition in the market, which could lead to a drop in mobile data price. According to an earlier estimate by the government’s commissioner for technology and digitization, Vladimír Dzurilla, the auction could reduce the cost of unlimited mobile data to approximately CZK 700 per month. Now it is usually over 1000 CZK.