- O2 Czech Republic again came out in defence of its contentious mobile network‑sharing agreement with T‑Mobile Czech Republic (TMCZ), amid recent reports that regulators’ concerns over the deal were fuelling delays in the country’s 5G auction, now due to take place in 2020.
Jindrich Fremuth, Chief Executive of O2, was dismissive of reports linking the controversy with postponements to the rights sale. “I do not think those two things are directly related because the timing of the 5G auction or 700MHz auction… is being… driven by… many different other factors”, he said. While the European Commission (EC) has been investigating the TMCZ–O2 arrangement since 2016 (Deutsche Telekomwatch, #58), Fremuth pointed out that infrastructure collaboration is now “actually encouraged” by the EC, to help meet 5G rollout ambitions. “We consider network sharing in general as a very… positive phenomenon, which will be quite crucial going forward for… 5G network rollout”, he asserted. On the subject of next steps in the EC investigation, Fremuth said O2 was in the process of preparing its response to an EC Statement of Objections, sent to the two operators in August 2019.
O2 is required to submit the document by mid‑December 2019 — presumably along with TMCZ.