June 24, 2013 / 4:32 PM / 4 years ago

Czech 4G mobile auction to allow a new operator

PRAGUE, June 24 (Reuters) - Czech telecommunications regulator CTU set out conditions on Monday for an auction of mobile spectrum frequencies that will allow the entry of a new operator into the market.

CTU said it would set aside two 10 MHz blocs in the 800 MHz band for a new entrant to compete with the country’s three existing operators.

The auction should start by the end of July after consultations with the country’s anti-monopoly authority.

European countries are rushing to roll out superfast mobile networks based on LTE or fourth-generation technology that will allow faster mobile broadband access.

Customers have long complained the Czech market lacked competition.

However, Telefonica Czech Republic, T-Mobile and Vodafone cut mobile voice and data prices in April in the start of a price war that some analysts said would make it difficult for a newcomer.

The fourth bidder in the auction is expected to be PPF Mobile Services, a unit of the PPF investment group owned by Petr Kellner, the Czech Republic’s richest man.

The regulator suspended the previous auction in March after it said a rise in bids to more than 20 billion crowns ($1 billion) in total threatened competitive pricing of services and the speed at which they could start operating. (Reporting by Jason Hovet; Editing by Mark Potter)

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