Industry regulator the Czech Telecommunication Office (CTU) is looking to attract more interest from new investors to its revamped auction of 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) mobile frequencies, the Czech News Agency quotes the regulator’s new chairman Jaromir Novak as saying this week. The last tender, which was to be contested by four pre-qualified bidders – incumbents T-Mobile, Telefonica O2 CR and Vodafone, and local financial firm PPF Group’s subsidiary PPF Mobile Services – was cancelled in March this year when bids spiralled above USD1 billion, prompting concerns over the competitive pricing of new services and the speed at which operators would be able to launch them. However, Novak now says that having settled any objections to the terms and conditions of the revised LTE auction, the regulator hopes to kick start it in mid-July. ‘The CTU invited again the potential investors,’ the chairman said, adding that the idea of hiving off a portion of the available frequencies in the lucrative 800MHz band ‘could be attractive’ for potential new entrants, as there was no such facility in the previous tender. A minimum of CZK7 billion (USD345.5 million) is expected to be raised for state coffers this year with the government adamant that the process will fulfil its promise to see the arrival of a fourth operator to boost competition.
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