Vodafone’s Czech mobile unit has filed a complaint with the country’s anti-monopoly watchdog over the 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network-sharing agreement signed last month by rivals Telefonica O2 CR and T-Mobile CR. Mobilnet.cz reports that Vodafone CR issued its complaint claiming that that deal is in breach of local laws – set down by the Czech Telecommunications Office (CTU) – that such arrangements ‘should not be exclusive’.
In May this year, O2 and T-Mobile signed an agreement to share LTE networks across the country by the end of this year – excepting the cities of Prague and Brno. Under the plan, the pair intend to start tests on the sharing of Radio Access Network (RAN) equipment, but will retain control over their own network infrastructure and maintain separate business strategies. Upon conclusion of trials, a commercial launch will follow in the second half of 2014, with the pair sharing transmitters in order to speed up the use of their LTE networks in the country earlier than the date set by the government’s auction. Telefonica O2 CR will be responsible for looking after the eastern part of the country, while T-Mobile will look after operations in the west of the Republic. At the time though, the news was not welcomed by Vodafone CR, which criticised the fact that it is left out on its own and will have to build a standalone 4G network.
Vodafone now believes that the deal will hinder competition in the 4G segment and is hoping its filing to the anti-monopoly office will lead to a full investigation. However, if none is forthcoming, the jilted carrier has threatened to escalate the complaint to the European Commission (EC) level.