PPF won't become fourth Czech mobile operator

Jiri Hovorka
30. 9. 2013 14:28
PPF will not participate in auction of 4G mobile spectrum frequencies because of no-merger condition "unprecedented in Europe"
Ilustrační snímek
Ilustrační snímek | Foto: Thinkstock

UPDATE: Five companies in total have joined the auction of mobile frequencies: the current three Czech operators (Vodafone, T-Mobile, Telefonica), Tasciane and Revolution Mobile. Tasciane is owned by the KKCG investment company and Revolution Mobile is a successor company to PPF Mobile.

The original story published today at 12:57 PM CET is here:

Prague - PPF, a Czech investment company, will not participate in the planned auction of 4G mobile spectrum frequencies designed to allow a new mobile phone operator to enter the Czech market.

PPF spokesman Radek Stavel said that the Czech Telecommunication Office (CTU), which handles the auction, has set an allegedly unprecedented condition that prohibits the new mobile operator from merging with any of the current three operators in the next fifteen years, which is the period the new frequencies are awarded for.

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Stavel said that the CTU has not even allowed PPF to comment on the criticized condition. "This restriction, unprecedented in Europe, was not part of the original conditions of the auction, which went through a public scrutiny, so it was not possible to comment on it. It appeared without any previous notice in the final version of the auction's conditions," said Stavel.

Sources unofficially claim that PPF is interested in purchasing Telefonica CR, a Czech subsidiary of the Telefonica telecommunication company, and accepting such a condition would thwart this goal.

In response, PPF sold PPF Mobile Services, its subsidiary established in order to participate in the auction, to its CEO Tomas Budnik a few days ago.

Telefonica and T-Mobile have already registered for the auction. Vodafone, the third operator, is still to announce its decision.

Court action against "illegal measures"

Telefonica has filed a criminal complaint against the auction's allegedly discriminatory and illegal measures with a Prague municipal court, reported Patria.cz.

"The CTU plans to implement a number of discriminatory and illegal measures. Their purpose is supposed to be to allow a new operator to enter the market. But the agency has not offered any explanation of the illegal measures," wrote Telefonica in its complaint.

According to Telefonica, the CTU has ignored its "serious complaints", so the company decided to bring the issue to court.

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