Orange Polska has announced its withdrawal from the auction of a single block of 2600MHz spectrum in the Polish government’s ongoing sale of 4G frequencies. The move is being seen as a tactical one by Orange as it is still involved in bidding for 13 other 2600MHz blocks plus five blocks in the 800MHz range, all of which are suitable for Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology. The French-owned firm says that it hopes its withdrawal from the single block will bring the auction to a speedier conclusion and that it is looking to the sector regulator UKE to promote cooperation between operators with regard to 4G spectrum use once the bidding ends.
At the end of last week’s round of bidding the five blocks of 800MHz spectrum had attracted bids of around PLN402 million (USD107 million) each, while the average price of a 2600MHz block was less than PLN29 million. Another of the country’s mobile operators, Polkomtel, had already announced its own withdrawal from the 800MHz bidding, saying it was looking for operators to share spectrum to deploy one or two nationwide networks in that band rather than all operators rolling out separate infrastructure. The latest move by Orange may be a signal to its rival bidders that it is looking to concentrate its efforts on the 800MHz blocks. Orange Polska currently offers 1800MHz 4G LTE services through a network sharing pact with close cellular rival T-Mobile.