The much criticized Czech telecoms regulator (ČTÚ) has admitted that all is not well with the local mobile market and is promising moves to step up its supervision of the sector.
The Czech Telecommunications Office said Wednesday that it was aiming “to create the conditions for an improvement in the situation on the mobile market.”
Steps in that direction include attempts to allowing real access to the market to so-called virtual operators, ones which pay for use of the networks of existing operators and compete with them for customers. The regulator said that it would from now on focus on the wholesale telecoms market as a target for its future action.
Previous attempts by such operators, who are common in other European countries, to enter the Czech market appear to have been frustrated by the attempts of the three main Czech telecoms players, T-Mobile, Telef?nica 02, and Vodafone to keep them so that they can safeguard the lucrative market for themselves. The result has been that Czechs are paying some of the highest mobile phone service charges in Europe for unexceptional service. The officie has recently come under fire from the Czech Minister of Industry and Trade, Martin Kuba (Civic Democrat, ODS).
The ČTÚ is currently putting together its strategy for allocating frequency for so-called 4-G fast broadband mobile. The initial hopes were that it would attract a series of new competitors who could take on the incumbent. But the three existing telecoms giants protested that they appeared to being sidelined.
The outcome now appears to be that four licenses for 4-G frequency will be handed out, three offered to the existing operators and one to a new entrant. That line of kick-starting competition therefore seems to be offering a lot less than had earlier been hoped for.