The European Commission sent a statement of objections to Czech mobile operators, accusing them of breaching the EU's antitrust rules, but the operators, namely T-Mobile, O2 Czech Republic and telecoms infrastructure provider CETIN, told CTK they did not agree with the charges.
The Commission said the firms had been restricting competition via their network sharing deal. The operators said network sharing was advantageous for customers.
The firms started the cooperation in 2011 and have been expanding it ever since. According to T-Mobile spokesperson Martina Kemrova, the advantages of network sharing include cost synergies, better network quality and faster introduction of new generation networks.
O2 said the operators were convinced they proceeded in compliance with legal regulations and regulatory rules. Network sharing is a common practice in most European countries nowadays, O2 said in a statement for CTK.
Mobile network coverage in Czechia is one of the best in the EU, and video streaming conditions are the best among the monitored states, said Michal Frankl of CETIN.
Vodafone, an operator that is not involved in the network sharing deal, said it had been providing evidence since 2013 that the agreement covering the entire territory, except Prague and Brno, is harming competition on the mobile market and subsequently Czech consumers.
"We expect the Czech authorities to take into account, to the greatest possible extent, the Commission's objections in drafting conditions of the planned frequency band auction," Vodafone said in a press release.