Czech telcos pay €39 million for 5G spectrum

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Two incumbents and two new players have divided the spoils in the Czech Republic's auction of the 3.7GHz band.

Existing operators O2 Czech Republic and Vodafone Czech Republic each gained a block of 40MHz in the auction by the Czech Telecommunication Office, as did new entrant PODA. The other new entrant, Nordic Telecom 5G, acquired 80MHz of spectrum.

Suntel Net and T-Mobile Czech Republic, which also participated in the auction, failed to win any spectrum. Current operators faced a purchase limit of 40MHz while new players could buy up to 80MHz.

The Czech Government netted CZK1.02 billion, or €39 million, from the sale, with each block sold for seven times the reserve price. The specific allocations of blocks will be made after the participants have paid.

Jaromír Novák, Chairman of the Council of CTU, said: “The result of this successful tender shows that the telecommunication market is oriented towards the provision of data services which are the core of functional data economy."

The 3.7GHz band is one of several that has been identified as a “pioneer” band for 5G in Europe, although there is less availability of this band in the United States and China.

Other pioneer bands include the ultra-high frequency (470-790MHz) spectrum band, which the EU has agreed to coordinate the use of for 5G.

Operators are also testing 5G technology in mmWave bands, between 30GHz and 300GHz, which offers high bandwidth but lower coverage.

The GSMA and European Telecommunications Network Operators have been urging the EU to be ambitious in policymaking around 5G.

They said legislators should support proposals to make spectrum trading, sharing and leasing easier and asked for consistency among Member States in approaching the awarding of spectrum.