Czech Republic updates draft principles for 5G auction

Czech Republic updates draft principles for 5G auction

Although earlier some Czech media indicated a possibility that the Czech regulator CTU would eventually not organise any 5G auction and the spectrum in the 700 MHz band would remain in state hands, at the beginning of 2019, CTU published an updated version of the draft principles of the 5G auction to include not only the 700 MHz band, but also the band 3.4-3.6 GHz for consultation until 25 January 2019. CTU assumes the auction would take place in the second half of 2019 and be completed at the beginning of 2020 at the latest.

The updated version of the draft auction principles reflects stakeholders’ inputs from the initial consultation from June 2018 and the workshop for stakeholders CTU subsequently organised. It also reflects the results of the inter-ministerial consultations, as well as the consultations with the anti-monopoly authority and other state administration bodies, mainly the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Interior. CTU also held separate consultations on special aspects of the planned auction, e.g. compliance with the requirement to provide for support of BB-PPDR (broadband public protection and disaster relief) services for emergency communication of security and emergency authorities.

Based on the experience from other countries, CTU is considering to additionally offer for 5G networks also the frequencies from SDL (supplementary downlink) ranges of the bands 700 MHz, 1500 MHz (L-band) and frequencies from the TDD band 2300 MHz. Those additional frequencies could contribute to enhanced customer experience thanks to a significant increase in capacity of both existing and newly built networks. Therefore, CTU also invites the participants of the consultation - potential auction participants - to identify their needs and estimated time horizons for the use of the above SDL ranges of the bands 700 MHz, 1500 MHz and the 2300 MHz band. Based on such demand inputs, CTU will be able to plan for further use of the additional frequencies in future.

The proposed auction format is SMRA (simultaneous multiple round auction). The SMRA auction format was successfully used in previous auctions both single-band (3600 MHz) and multi-band (800 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2600 MHz), including auctions, in which more complex combinations of abstract and concrete blocks of various sizes were offered.

The licences shall be awarded for the period of 15 years in the 700 MHz band and until 30 June 2032 for the band 3400-3600 MHz.

In the ranges 703–733 MHz and 758–788 MHz, the regulator plans to award in total 2x30 MHz - two blocks of 2x5 MHz and two blocks of 2x10 MHz. In the first part of the auction phase, CTU plans to reserve one 2x10 MHz block only for new market players. The planned spectrum cap, valid for all applicants, shall be 2x10 MHz. The reserve price shall be set based on benchmarks from other EU countries and the bids shall be in increments equivalent to 5 percent of the reserve price.

Draft auction conditions also include network development criteria for the winners of the auction, the obligation to provide national roaming, the obligation to enable PPDR communication and the requirement to prevent interference with the digital terrestrial broadcasting.

In the 3410-3600 MHz range, CTU plans to award 19 simplex blocks of 10 MHz and will further discuss the possibilities of award of licences in the range 3400-3410 MHz, due to current technical barriers. The regulator aims to enable operators to hold contiguous spectrum blocks of 80 MHz or 100 MHz in the band 3400-3800 MHz. With regard to the optimal block size for providing 5G services, CTU will set spectrum cap at 80 MHz or 100 MHz. The reserve price shall be based on benchmarks from other EU countries and the bids shall be in increments equivalent to 10 percent of the reserve price.

Also for the 3400–3600 MHz band CTU defines network development criteria and additionally the refarming obligation.

Published on: January 13, 2019

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