Czechs Seek New 4G Terms After Canceling $1B Auction

The Czech telecom regulator said it’s working on developing “new conditions” to allocate radio frequencies after canceling an auction because bids rose above $1 billion, the regulator said.

“We are intensively working on new, modified conditions for granting the frequencies,” Frantisek Malina, spokesman for the Cesky Telekomunikacni Urad, said by phone today from Prague.

The regulator, known as CTU, said earlier today that it had canceled the auction after offers from the four groups taking part -- Telefonica AS, T-Mobile Czech Republic AS, Vodafone Czech Republic AS and PPF Mobile Services AS -- totaled more than 20 billion koruna ($1 billion) and “were still rising,” according to an e-mailed statement.

“Such excessive prices of the auctioned frequencies would have to negatively translate into excessive charges for fast mobile Internet,” CTU Chairman Pavel Dvorak said in the statement. “We therefore consider it necessary to step in and prevent future negative consequences for the customers.”

The telecommunications office was offering radio frequencies in the 800 MHz, 1800 MHz, and 2,600 MHz ranges. The auction should help develop high-speed mobile broadband services, ensure an effective usage of frequencies and boost competitiveness on the market by an entry of a new provider.

Shares in Telefonica Czech Republic AS rose as much as 1.4 percent after the cancelation was announced. They were trading up 1.1 percent at 328 koruna as of 1:27 p.m. in Prague.