In March and April the Czech Republic will hold talks with mobile telephony
operators from the US, Italy, France, the UK and South Korea about the
planned introduction of a fourth operator onto the Czech market, Prime
Minister Andrej Babiš said on Tuesday. An auction of frequencies should
take place by the end of December, with the winner expected to receive them
from the state in January or February 2020.
Mr. Babiš also said he would put forward a bill making it easier for customers to end their contracts with existing mobile operators in the Czech Republic.
Under his legislation, clients would be able to cancel their agreements after two days, instead of 10 at present, while they would be able to end a contract without paying any penalty after three months. Mr. Babiš is due to meet operators in two weeks’ time.
The relatively high cost of mobile data in the Czech Republic has been in the headlines after a minister suggested people should consume more if they want to pay less. The prime minister is set to discuss the matter with operators and there have been suggestions that the planned arrival of a fourth operator will help customers make savings.
Prime Minister Andrej Babiš’s tweet that he was lobbying for the opening of an Apple Store in Prague received much attention from Czech media. However, server iDNES.cz reports that the Czech PM also discussed the possibility of introducing American telecoms giant AT&T as the fourth major mobile phone operator in the country.
The Czech Telecommunication Office (ČTÚ) is due to begin testing the 5G network in September and plans to auction 700 MHz frequencies in the second half of 2019, in hopes of attacking a fourth mobile operator to increase competition – and reduce rates for individual customers, who pay more on average than other Europeans. In the meantime, a lone campaigner for unlimited data access is waging a daily battle via social media, using humour as a weapon.
The whole of the Prague Metro system should have mobile phone coverage by the year 2022 after the supervisory board of the city’s transport authority this week approved a deal with a consortium of mobile operators. The first stage of the rollout should begin on part of the C (or red) line this year.
Around seven out of 10 Czechs are getting discounted rates for Internet mobile phone use compared to than those being officially offered by the main providers, according to the business daily Hospodářské Noviny. The article puts a broad figure for the first time on the discounts whose extent had previously not been mapped or made public.
First half net profits for one of the Czech Republic’s biggest telecoms companies, O2,rose by 3.0 percent to 2.6 billion crowns, the company announced on Friday. Total earnings climbed by 4.0 percent to 18.49 billion crowns. The results were described by one analyst as slightly better than expected. The overwhelming majority of the earnings, around four fifths, come from the Czech Republic. O2 is majority owned by Czech company PPF.
One of the Czech Republic’s biggest telecoms company, 02, announced the collapse of its mobile roaming service on Wednesday saying that calls to numbers outside the Czech Republic and from its customers abroad could not be made. The problem started Tuesday afternoon and was the fault of its foreign telecoms connectivity provider, CETIN. O2 said it was trying to solve the problem. CETIN belongs to the same group that ownsO2, the Czech group PPF. O2 later said CETIN was probably victim of a hacking attack.