U:fon, the operating arm of local concern MobilKom, has launched commercial CDMA services in the Czech Republic – making it the fourth player in the country’s crowded mobile market. However, rather than take on rivals T-Mobile, O2 and Vodafone in the 2G voice segment, the newcomer is targeting the data services market by offering subscribers a mobile internet package for CZK237 (USD11.33) per month to stimulate interest. Its price plan compares with O2’s cheapest offer of CZK653 per month and T-Mobile’s entry level CZK475 plan. U:fon also hopes to trump its rivals with a 3.1Mbps service priced at CZK594/month, roughly half that charged by O2 and T-Mobile. In addition, U:fon is also offering calls from wireless fixed lines for a flat monthly charge of CZK296, and call fees starting from CZK0.7 a minute. It has not ruled out offering mobile voice call services, saying it plans to add this option to its portfolio in 2008, subject to it achieving its coverage goals.
MobilKom, which was set up in 1993 and received its CDMA licence in 2005, says it already has a little over 100,000 subscribers on U:fon’s CDMA network. By mid-2007 it aims to have coverage of 50% of the population, rising to 90% by year end. It also plans to offer a push-to-talk (PTT) service over its CDMA data network from September. MobilKom CEO Lubos Borik said his company was targeting medium- and low-income households and wanted to capitalise on a lack of alternative high speed internet access options and the stagnation of 3G mobile services in the domestic market.