Czech telecoms watchdog sets out 4G roll-out goals

Telecoms regulator (ČTÚ) says 4G wireless broadband service should be autioned and rolled out within three years for most Czechs

Czech telecoms regulator (ČTÚ) said on Wednesday that preparing frequency auctions for the roll-out of new generation wireless broadband mobile services, in particular high-speed, mobile Internet services, will be one of main priorities this year.

The ČTÚ said in a statement that within three years most of the territory and 90 percent of the Czech population should have access to mobile broadband via so-called 4G services. One-off earnings from the auctions for the Czech state are estimated “at billions of crowns” with regular income afterwards from the use of the frequencies “in the range of tens or hundreds of millions annually,” the authority added.

The amount at which the new frequencies are auctioned at should have a big impact on Czech telecoms users, with the auction winners certain to claw back as much of that amount in charges as soon as possible after the new service is launched. High prices paid for 3G frequencies are, in part, blamed for the current high charges for telecoms services in the Czech Republic.

Czech telecoms users also frequently complain about the lack of competition between the current big telecom operators on the market, Telefónica O2, T-Mobile and Vodafone, with the ČTÚ frequently blamed for its failure to get tough with the big companies and force prices down.

Telefónica O2, which bought the state’s former fixed-line phone company, has in particular sought to stem losses of customers from fixed phone services through its high-speed Internet offering. It has also been seeking to build up its Wi-Fi networks.

So-called 4G wireless should offer connections with around seven times the speed of the highest-performing current 3G services, allowing for example, high-quality streaming of videos and music from handheld devices with little risk of quality lapses.

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