Will Czech operators offer 5G on state-owned 700 MHz spectrum?

Will Czech operators offer 5G on state-owned 700 MHz spectrum?
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In mid-October, Czech portal Lupa.cz brought an information about the so-called project 700NET, which assumes that the State would retain control of the 700 MHz frequency ranges released by digital terrestrial broadcasting. The spectrum would be held by a state-owned enterprise and then rented to operators on wholesale basis.

The Czech Republic, like several other countries, is getting ready for the so-called second digital dividend, i. e award of frequencies in the band 700 MH released by the digital terrestrial broadcasting in favour of mobile broadband. After the consultation on the auction format and expressed desire to attract a new, the fourth, mobile operator, there are signals that the Government is seriously considering one more alternative, namely not to organise any auction at all and keep the frequencies in the State’s hands.

Based on a document available to the portal, the State would invite a joint-venture partner in order to gain know-how. First the partner would have a minority share but he would have an option for gaining majority after three years from the completion of network construction. As potential partners, CETIN, CEPS Invest, CEZ Distribution, Sitel and Orange are mentioned.

The draft has not been officially presented, but the Minister of Industry and Trade Marta Novakova is allegedly open to such option.

If the Czech Republic adopts the above model, it will be a rarity, not only in Europe, but also worldwide. Only Mexico is experimenting with a similar approach – the State and the consortium Altan Redes have launched a project worth USD 7.2 billion, assuming wholesale offering of spectrum in the 700 MHz band and 18,000 kilometres of fibre-optics cables.

 

Photo by Chepko Danil | stock.adobe.com

Published on: December 10, 2018


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