Last year, the Czech Telecommunication Office (CTO) announced a tender for the rights to use radio frequencies for providing a public communications network, and officially published a list of bidders on 11 September 2012. Besides the existing mobile network operators, only one new bidder, so far not engaged in the sector, has expressed its interest in taking part. The auction was expected to fetch around CZK 7.4 billion.
Despite the fact that the selection procedure was originally scheduled to close at the end of November 2012, the period of auctioning has been extended and its closing will depend on future interest of bidders in the offered frequencies. In December 2012, the CTO stated that candidates had expressed their continued interest and that the auction would continue in 2013.
The primary aim of the auction was to attract a new operator to the local market, who would encourage a competitive environment within the oligopolistic Czech telecommunications market, as well as to provide high-speed mobile Internet services in the new so-called “fourth generation networks” both to individuals and business entities.
According to potential candidates, the auction conditions have been set so that candidates virtually loses the chance to auction a portion of the frequency band efficiently, which would have allowed them to develop their own network infrastructure. As a result, the new bidders only have an opportunity to operate in the territory of the Czech Republic as “mobile virtual network operators” within the framework of local roaming. Mobile virtual network operators lease a portion of infrastructure from existing operators and therefore cannot operate entirely independently.