The Czech Telecommunication Office (Cesky telekomunikacni urad, CTU) has published its analysis on the market for mobile data services, concluding that competitive market conditions do not exist in that segment. The analysis, published on 17 August, found that prices of mobile data services are being kept high due to a lack of competition, adding that it will now implement measures to redress the problem. A number of options are open to the CTU, including a direct intervention on the prices offered by the country’s mobile network operators (MNOs) Vodafone, O2 and T-Mobile. In an interview with business daily Hospodarske Noviny, the government’s coordinator for the digital economy and former member of the telecommunications office council, said that the watchdog must send a clear message that things need to change in the mobile data segment. Prices for internet access are, on average, around three times those in neighbouring Poland and much higher even than comparative services in Austria – a much ‘richer’ country than the Republic.
The CTU analysis pointed to problems in the reseller/MVNO space due to the fact that the big three are able to dictate rates offered to MVNOs for access, providing an environment that is unduly strict and uninviting for the roughly 100 or so virtual operators in the mobile market. The situation makes it extremely difficult for them to undercut the MNOs’ mobile data prices, much less make a sustainable profit, they argue. In the past, the CTU has been hopeful that Vodafone, O2 and T-Mobile would act without it needing to get tough, but as yet MNOs have failed to react and start cutting wholesale access prices.