In June 2012, a bill to amend the Czech Postal Services Act was finally approved. The amendments follow the latest development at EU-level regarding the liberalisation of the postal market, and will come into force in January 2013. The amendments will have the effect of removing the existing monopoly held by the state enterprise Česká pošta (Czech Post) over deliveries of postal items that weigh up to 50 g with a price of up to 0.7 EUR, and shall open up the market to competition.
Businesses as well as natural persons will be authorised to provide postal services provided that they fulfill the duty to notify the Czech Telecommunication Authority. The notification must include, inter alia, a list of the postal services to be provided, the area of activity for the postal services, details of the proposed postal network and the date of commencement of postal services. Some additional administrative requirements will also need to be fulfilled, including the requirement for foreign company applicants to submit a commercial register extract.
The Czech Telecommunication Authority is likely to reject the notification only in exceptional cases, such as where the applicant is a company with a criminal or insolvency record. In the majority of other cases, the Czech Telecommunication Authority will register the postal service provider.
Applicants entering the market will not be obliged to provide all existing postal services, or to provide coverage of their postal network across the whole of the Czech Republic. To ensure that the full extent of postal services is provided, the Czech Telecommunication Authority will also issue a postal license regarding the so-called universal postal service. This license will impose a duty on the provider to provide all basic services within a specified area. Basic services include delivering any post items that weigh up to 10 kg, providing for money transfers via postal vouchers, providing deliveries via registered mail and the provision of various other services. In the next five years, the state-owned Česká pošta shall be the sole holder of this postal license. From 2018, the postal license shall be awarded by a tender set out by the Czech Telecommunication Authority.
Smaller businesses may only seek to provide the more profitable postal services, such as by way of only offering their services to bigger cities. It would therefore remain the duty of the postal license holder to offer less profitable services across the whole of the Czech Republic. As a result, the postal license holder may find it difficult to generate profit. To compensate this, the Postal Services Act envisages that the postal license holder may seek reimbursement of such a financial burden. Based on the decision of the Czech Telecommunication Authority, all other postal services providers may be obliged to contribute to the reimbursement of costs for the postal license holder, in a ratio set out by the Czech Telecommunication Authority. This may however be considered as a key disadvantage of the new scheme which may limit the number of new postal services providers that enter the market.