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CTU Proposes New Terms For 5G Auction With Support For Newcomers

The Czech national telecommunications regulator CTU has launched a public consultation on the proposed terms for the 5G spectrum auction, licensing the 700 MHz and 3.5 GHz bands. Comments can be submitted until 16 April.

The CTU said it amended the conditions in an attempt to support more competition on all market levels and encourage the development of 5G networks in accordance with the government 5G Strategy. Its previous proposal for an auction expected in Q1 was withdrawn after the head of the regulator resigned.

The CTU has reserved one block of 2×10 MHz in the 700 MHz band for new applicants and capped each bidder at one block of 2×10 MHz in this range. In the 3.5 GHz band, the incumbent operators can acquire a maximum 60 MHz, while newcomers can buy 100 MHz. The given limits can be increased in the event of insufficient demand.

The frequency range 3,400-3,440 MHz has been removed from the tender and will be reserved for industry verticals to develop their own networks. The CTU established more detailed conditions for the use of this spectrum, which will be awarded separately.

The CTU further extended the obligation of national roaming to the benefit of new operators. The incumbent operators will be obliged to provide national roaming not only to the benefit of the new operator which acquires frequencies in the 700 MHz band, but also to the benefit of all new operators with spectrum across the 3,440-3,800 MHz frequency band. Roaming must be provided at least with the same population coverage as the operator’s own services, including subsequent network expansions.

The conditions of the tender further establish a wholesale offer obligation for spectrum holders in the 700 MHz frequency band, including an obligation to publish a reference offer for so-called full and light MVNOs, the PPDR obligations, the obligation of re-farming the whole 3,440-3,800 MHz frequency band, and the development of criteria for efficient spectrum management.

At the same time, the conditions include an obligation to cover so-called white spots, i.e. municipalities where 4G networks are currently not available. The winning bidders must also cover large cities, railway and motorway corridors, and ensure nationwide coverage of the Czech Republic with 5G networks in defined terms and in accordance to the government 5G Strategy.

The minimum starting auction price for individual blocks has been determined based on a benchmark analysis of the prices obtained in relevant European countries.

The CTU expects to launch the tender during June.


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