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.
An angry war of words has broken out over government plans to pave the way for a new frequency for terrestrial tv broadcasters as part of moves to free up space for mobile data to be transmitted around the world. Satellite companies say the government move is a massive multi-billion crown giveaway with the country threatened by costly international arbitration proceedings.
Tariffs of mobile phone operators in the Czech Republic are up to 79 percent higher than the EU average, according to the data of the organisation telefonujici.cz, released on Wednesday. According to telefonujici.cz, the main reasons behind the excessive prices include two-year contracts, high margins, the absence of a fourth major operator, as well as massive price difference offered by operators to corporate and ordinary users.
The Czech competition office has announced that it will launch an investigation into the offer and charges made for data and voice service by telecom companies on the local market. The probe, to take place over the next weeks, will examine whether there is collusion between the big players and possibly abuse of dominant position. Czech telecom companies have recently been under the spotlight, particularly for the high prices of data services compared with neighbouring countries, such as Poland. Stand-in minister of industry and trade, Bohuslav Sobotka, pledged to tackle the problem and has also pushed for increased powers for the sector regulator, the Czech Telecommunication Office.
The government has approved an amendment to the law on electronic communications that should benefit ordinary mobile phone users and boost the powers of the national regulator, the Czech Telecommunications Office, government spokesman Martin Ayrer announced on his Twitter account on Wednesday. Political parties on Friday agreed to put the proposed rules on a legislative fast track, cutting the time taken for the changes to be discussed in parliamentary committees to 20 days from the usual 60. They also agreed that the proposed law would be the first issue on the agenda for April’s meeting of the lower house of Parliament. The proposed changes should get through all procedural stages ahead of elections to the lower house due in October.
Political parties agreed Friday to put proposed new telecommunications rules on a legislative fast track. Meeting with Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, the parties agreed that the time taken for the changes to be discussed in parliamentary committees would be cut to 20 days from the usual 60 and the proposed law would be the first issue on the agenda for April’s meeting of the lower house of parliament. The proposed changes should get through all procedural stages ahead of elections to the lower house due in October. The new law should step up consumer rights, for example by allowing them to change operator within 10 days, increase fines on telecom companies for breaking competition rules, and also pave the way for a smooth transition to digital television. The prime minister has made the new rules one of his main priorities.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has called a meeting of representatives of all parliamentary parties on Friday to discuss a bill on electronic communications. Mr. Sobotka is hoping to win support for an accelerated process of debating the legislation, which is aimed at reducing data charges for smartphone users. Inaction over data prices has been cited as a reason for the dismissal of Jan Mládek as minister for industry and trade. Mr. Sobotka has taken over that portfolio until a congress of his Social Democrats next month.