PRAGUE, March 3 Czech political parties agreed
to fast-track a new telecommunications bill before elections in
October that could reduce mobile phone bills for consumers,
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said on Friday.
Operators including O2 Czech Republic, T-Mobile
and Vodafone, have been criticised by
politicians who say Czechs pay some of the highest mobile and
data prices in Europe.
Sobotka sacked his industry minister in February because he
saw him as too passive on the issue.
"I welcome this agreement, because it guarantees customers
that their rights will improve by the end of this election
cycle," he said.
Lawmakers will start processing the bill on April 4 and the
parties have reached a "gentlemen agreement" to pass it before
the current term of parliament ends in the autumn, Sobotka said.
He said he hoped the bill would help reduce mobile data
prices and improve market efficiency.
The bill will give more powers to the regulator, which would
be able to impose heavier fines on operators, and strengthens
consumer rights to protect them from unfair contracts.
(Reporting by Robert Muller; editing by Jason Neely)