5G regulation and law in Czech Republic

Information current as of 19 December 2019

What is the state of 5G deployment in the Czech Republic?

The 5G network is still in its testing and pre-auction stage. According to the Czech Telecommunications Office (the “Office”), the frequencies for the construction of 5G networks (700 MHz and 3400 MHz–3600 MHz) will be the subject of a public auction planned in the first half of 2020. The Ministry of Industry and Trade is currently working on a strategy for implementation and development of 5G.

Which telcos and communications players are launching 5G services?

As 5G has not yet been commercially launched, no companies have launched 5G services yet. However, all three of the biggest operators in the market – O2, T-Mobile and Vodafone – have expressed their interest in 5G services and are involved in testing of the networks.

At the beginning of 2019, O2 launched a “4.5G network” in the town of Kolín. The network reached a speed of around 400 Mbit per second and it is freely available to anyone who has a device that can work with it. Further, in July 2019, O2 tested a closed 5G network with speed in the hundreds of Mbit per second, as well as low latency and response.

In October 2019, the Czech Ministry of Industry and Trade together with the Ministry of Regional Development held a contest for testing and development of new technologies called “5G for 5 towns”. The 5 towns intend the use of the network to be focused on autonomous vehicles, streaming of sporting events, contactless payments in public transport, CCTV monitoring and testing of control of unmanned aerial vehicles.

Are there any public tenders for spectrum licences?

No.

Has there been any comment on when there might be?

The Office postponed the public auction for 5G radio frequencies until later in 2020. The public auction should have started in January 2020, with the expected allocation of frequencies by July 2020. However, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade it is possible that the public auction will be postponed until mid 2020 to adjust its conditions to attract possible new entrants.

What has the government said regarding spectrum licences for commercial use?

The Czech government fully supports development of new generation networks.

Are the rules for 5G already drafted, and if so, what do they say?

There are existing rules in the Electronic Communications Act regarding the use of spectrum licences, which will also fully apply to 5G services. Certain specific rules/conditions for the use of 5G depend on the conditions of the public auction for 5G spectrum licences.

The public auction for 5G radio frequencies will set out conditions for the spectrum licence holders. It is expected that the conditions will be published in early 2020.

What are or would be the rules for granting competitors access to the new 5G networks, once they are deployed?

There are existing rules in the Act on Measures to Reduce the Costs of Deploying High-Speed Electronic Communication Networks and in the Electronic Communications Act. In summary, the owner of physical infrastructure is generally obliged to conclude a written contract with other entrepreneurs in electronic communications and allow them to access the physical infrastructure based on fair, proportionate and non-discriminatory conditions.

Picture of Tomas Matejovsky
Tomáš Matĕjovský
Partner
Prague