Czech postpones 5G spectrum auction to later this year

Czech government has postponed the date of the 5G spectrum auction to later this year as the conditions were being finalised.
5G subscribers in Asia
The government was planning to conduct the spectrum auction this month to release the 5G spectrum. The Czech telecoms market is currently dominated by three companies: O2 Czech Republic owned by Telefonica, T-Mobile owned by Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone Group of the UK.

Czech Industry Minister Karel Havlicek earlier said that the government is likely to follow the approach of Germany and other neighboring countries in addressing issues related to Huawei while building 5G networks.

Jaromir Novak, the head of Czech Telecommunication Office (CTU), has resigned over government changes to a planned auction of frequencies for 5G telecoms networks, saying they risked slowing the rollout of the technology and were likely to result in court disputes.

The Czech Telecommunication Office (CTU) is planning an auction of frequencies in the 700 MHz and 3.5 GHz bands this year to boost competition in a market where high prices have long been a gripe of customers and politicians.

Jaromir Novak said the government had made some last-minute changes to the conditions of the auction that he feared could put off bidders and delay 5G technology.

“I cannot sign under auction conditions that in my deep conviction will not improve the competitive environment in the Czech market, they will jeopardize the target of rapidly introducing 5G networks and they will likely lead to a number of court disputes,” Novak said in a resignation letter which he posted on his Twitter account.

Jaromir Novak said the government shifted to put too much emphasis on national roaming – which would allow customers to switch among operators as if they were traveling abroad – in the 3.5 GHz band, which he said could not be used across the whole country.

Novak also told Reuters in an emailed reply to questions that he had not been consulted properly about the changes.

Industry Minister Karel Havlicek said the adjustments were proposed due to low interest from bidders.

“The interest among foreign bidders is zero, among the Czech bidders it is quite minimal, based on that, we started to discuss new conditions today,” Havlicek said in a televised briefing after a government meeting.

The government has appointed CTU board member Hana Tovarkova to replace Jaromir Novak as the head of the telecom regulator.

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