Poland to re-run 800/2600MHz spectrum auction; P4 LTE coverage reaches 63%

14 Oct 2014

Poland’s Office of Electronic Communications (UKE) has announced its latest plans to auction 19 national frequency licences which are suitable for 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology in the 800MHz and 2600MHz bands. In the 800MHz band the sale will cover five 5MHz lots of paired spectrum in the ranges 791MHz-816MHz and 832MHz-857MHz, while at 2600MHz 14 lots of 2×5MHz will be offered between 2500MHz-2570MHz and 2620MHz-2690MHz. Bidding will close on 24 November and no entity is allowed to bid for more than two lots in the lower band, and four lots in the higher range. A minimum price of PLN250 million (USD75.6 million) has been set for each packet of 800MHz spectrum, while the minimum bid for lots in the 2600MHz band is PLN25 million. The concessions will be valid for 15 years.

As noted in TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, UKE originally launched the 800/2600MHz auction in January this year, but from the start the sale was dogged by controversy, including threats from Polkomtel that it would boycott the tender over allegations that the terms discriminated against the cellco whilst aiding its rivals. On 11 February, UKE decided to cancel the auction after a technical glitch prevented operators from accessing documents relating to the sale. The fault left potential bidders with just a few hours to read the regulator’s response to requests for clarification on the terms of the sale. The watchdog initially decided to postpone the bidding until 14 February to give it time to rectify the situation, but it subsequently announced that it would scrap the auction and renew the process. Explaining its decision to abandon the sale, the regulator said that it had a ‘duty to provide participants with a stable, transparent and predictable environment in which there is no room for the slightest legal doubt’.

Separately, Poland’s fourth largest cellular operator P4, which trades as Play, has announced that its 4G LTE networks now cover 63% of the population, with infrastructure installed in some 1,500 communities, including 932 with a population of more than 1,000 people, Rzeczpospolita writes. Meanwhile, number three cellco Polkomtel claims 66.7% LTE population coverage, while the two largest providers, Orange and T-Mobile, claim 58% coverage from their shared 4G infrastructure.