Three existing Czech mobile operators, Telefonica Czech Republic, T-Mobile and , won an auction of radio spectrum for 4G high-speed mobile data networks, CTU said.
Two newcomers, Revolution Mobile and Sazka Telecommunications, did not win licences - a surprise given that the regulator had set aside space for a fourth operator as part of the auction conditions. The sale raised 8.5 billion crowns for the 2014 Czech state budget. "They (new entrants) followed a strategy that did not earn them any frequency," CTU spokesman Martin Drtina said.
"Given the operators have been experimenting with LTE already, I gather that customers will be able to use really fast internet on a mobile or tablet in a large part of the Czech Republic within one year," CTU Chairman Jaromir Novak said.
Telefonica Czech Republic, which already covers significant parts of the capital Prague and second city Brno with LTE networks, said it would start building a 4G network in new locations in the first half of 2014.
Telefónica has acquired 2 blocks in 800 MHz band, 3 blocks in 1 800 MHz band and 4 blocks in 2 600 MHz bands. Combined with the frequencies that it already holds, the operator has sufficient bandwidth to operate a high quality mobile-broadband data network with superior capacity and coverage.
"Fast data is the future of telecommunications industry. The acquired frequencies will enable us to develop the fastest mobile data network in the Czech Republic. We will start building 4G network on new frequencies in cities and regions of the country within the first half of 2014. We plan to invest billions of Czech crowns into the rollout and development of our 4G network within the next five years." said Luis Malvido, Telefónica Czech Republic's CEO.
Earlier this month, investment group PPF, owned by the Czech Republic's richest man Petr Kellner, agreed to buy a 65.9 percent stake in Telefonica Czech Republic from Spain's Telefonica for 2.5 billion euros.
CTU cancelled an initial auction in March after receiving bids of more than 20 billion crowns, which it said were so high that they risked inflating the price of the services and delaying launch.
Last month, Austria raised 2.01 billion euros ($2.68 billion) - almost four times the amount targeted - in a 4G auction that was among the costliest in Europe to date.
(Source: CTU, , Reuters)