Despite the efforts of telecoms regulator CTU to attract a new entrant, the Czech Republic’s multi-band 4G spectrum auction – which raised a total of CZK8.53 billion ($423 million) – only succeeded in attracting winning bids from the country’s three incumbents.
Two Czech start-ups, which threw their hats into the ring, dropped out of the 4G bidding empty-handed.
The Czech unit of Vodafone paid the most (CZK3.1 billion), followed by Telefonica O2 (CZK2.8 billion) and T-Mobile (CZK2.6 billion).
In the highly-prized 800MHz frequency band – in which CTU reserved spectrum for a new entrant – Vodafone purchased a 2x10MHz chunk for CZK2.66 billion.
T-Mobile acquired two 2x5MHz blocks of 800MHz for a total of CZK2.23 billion, while Telefonica paid CZK2.39 billion for two 2x5MHz blocks.
Each of the three operators landed 2.6GHz and 1.8GHz spectrum in the auction as well, although some wireless frequencies in these two bands remain unassigned. CTU is reportedly considering ways of how to sell the unsold spectrum, expected next year.
Although there are no new entrants to the Czech Republic market, MVNOs will have access to LTE networks.
Another licence condition is that spectrum winners must cover 50 per cent of districts within 30 months.
There may well have been a newcomer had the PPF investment group, which previously expressed interest in the Czech Republic’s 4G auction, not earlier secured a controlling stake in Telefonica’s Czech unit for €2.47 billion.