Polish regulator announces terms for proposed auction of LTE frequencies in 2014

2 Jan 2014

Poland’s national telecoms regulator, the Office of Electronic Communications (UKE), has reportedly confirmed details of its proposed 2014 auction of spectrum suitable for 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) services Telecompaper reports without disclosing its source. According to the unconfirmed report, the watchdog intends to sell off five lots (totalling 50MHz) of frequencies in the 800MHz band and a further 14 lots (140MHz) of spectrum in the 2600MHz band, building on the country’s already ongoing deployment of 4G in the 1800MHz band. With spectrum resources said to be scarce, the UKE is advising would-be applicants to consider network sharing agreements to make the best use of the frequencies on offer. It is understood that licensees winning 800MHz spectrum will be required to launch commercially within twelve months of receiving their concessions, while operators with 2600MHz spectrum will be given a three year window. Interested bidders must submit applications to the UKE by the 15 February deadline.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database in August last year the UKE launched a public consultation regarding the sale of spectrum in the 800MHz and 2600MHz bands, saying at the time that it planned to offer up five blocks of 2×5MHz spectrum in the 800MHz band (791MHz-816MHz and 832MHz-857MHz) and seven blocks of 2×10MHz in the 2600MHz range (2500MHz-2570MHz and 2620MHz-2690MHz). The licences will be valid for 15 years and cover the entire territory of Poland. Draft documentation for the auction limited bidders to a maximum of two blocks of 800MHz frequencies and three of 2600MHz. Additionally, successful bidders that already use frequencies in the 800MHz or 900MHz ranges will be not be allowed to exceed a combined total spectrum holding of 40MHz in those bands. Bidding is expected to be conducted as a simultaneous multiple round ascending auction, and the UKE has initially proposed a reserve price of PLN250 million (USD78.47 million) per block of 800MHz airwaves, and PLN50 million per 2600MHz block. The 800MHz block on offer was reduced from 2×30MHz (791MHz-821MHz, 832MHz-862MHz) to 2×25MHz following a settlement between the Polish government and CDMA operator Sferia, which became legally binding on 5 August 2013 and under which Sferia was awarded 2×5MHz in return for withdrawing its claims against the state at the International Court of Arbitration. Sferia is not permitted to bid for further 800MHz spectrum in the upcoming auction.